Mechanics coach suspended for $200 bounty

Updated: February 22, 2005, 11:16 AM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Motor City Mechanics coach Steve Shannon was suspended by the United Hockey League for the rest of the season for offering his players $200 to take out Flint Generals forward Kevin Kerr.

UHL commissioner Richard Brosal said Shannon never admitted to offering the money, but a league investigation found that he placed the bounty on Feb. 2 when the Mechanics played the Generals in Flint.

Before the game, Kerr criticized NHL players who had joined UHL teams, saying they were taking time from minor league players.

Chris Chelios, Derian Hatcher and Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings joined the Mechanics on Feb. 1. Another Red Wings player, Jason Woolley, recently signed with the Generals.

Brosal confirmed that the bounty was $200, but said the amount wasn't important.

"I don't care if it was $5. You do not put a bounty on another player's head," Brosal said.

Brosal said Shannon won't be automatically reinstated for the 2005 season.

"I would review that again if it came up. We'll just have to wait and see," he said.

Shannon didn't immediately return a phone message left by The Associated Press. He will miss the final 24 games played by the last-place Mechanics (17-33-6).

Former Mechanics coach Garry Unger will reassume the job until further notice. Mechanics president John Tull planned to meet with team owners Tuesday to discuss the situation.

"We regret that Steve's been suspended, but we back the league's decision," Tull said. "Neither the league nor the Mechanics would ever condone headhunting out on the ice."

Tull said Kerr was slightly injured by a clean check in the game, but no one collected any money from Shannon.

"Nothing ended up happening. Most of the players realized that is not the way to conduct yourself as a professional," Tull said.

The Mechanics face Flint again on Friday.

"We're just trying to put a fire out and ... have a professional, clean hockey game," Tull said.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press