Ex-NHL player Mantha suspended in hazing incident
WINDSOR, Ontario -- A former NHL player has been suspended as general manager and coach of a major junior team over a hazing incident and player fighting.
Moe Mantha of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires was banned for one year as general manager and 25 games as coach for making players strip on the team bus. He also got a 15-game ban from coaching for fights in practice between Akim Aliu and Steve Downie.
The Spitfires also have been fined $35,000.
The punishments were announced Tuesday by Ontario Hockey League commissioner David Branch.
"The league has a zero-tolerance policy on hazing and the league must make a very strong statement against it," Branch said. "Any form of hazing must be eradicated."
He said the league needed to show it is serious about hazing and to assure players and their parents that the OHL will do all it can to provide "a healthy environment" for its players.
The league will also arrange a meeting between players, their parents and the families players are billeted with to discuss the hazing. The team will make a psychologist available to any player who wants it, he added.
The OHL says the hazing involved making players strip and stand in a small lavatory at the rear of the team bus.
The Spitfires suspended Downie for five games and ordered him to participate in a personal counseling program. Aliu received a one-game suspension and must also attend counseling sessions.
Downie left the team and has threatened to sit out the season if the Spitfires do not trade him. Aliu also demanded a trade.
Mantha played for 12 seasons as a defenseman in the NHL with Winnipeg, Pittsburgh, Edmonton, Minnesota and Philadelphia. He had 81 goals, 289 assists and 501 penalty minutes.
Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press