AMHERST, N.S. - A fight is brewing between the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers and the Maritime Junior Hockey League over the league’s decision to take a win from the hockey team over its alleged use of an ineligible player.
On Oct. 18, the MHL issued a news release saying the Ramblers were in violation of league policy when it used an ineligible player in the Oct. 13 game against the Valley Wildcats. Because of this, the Ramblers win over Valley was forfeited with the Ramblers given a loss and a win given to the Wildcats.
The player in question is Colton McKenna, who joined the Ramblers several weeks ago from Buffalo, N.Y. and the league’s assertion he didn’t pay his play fee by the deadline.
The Ramblers’ president said the team is appealing the league’s decision.
“The policy in question is the league’s pay-to-play policy,” Gary Brown said in a written statement to the Amherst News. “We were informed Oct. 11 that Colton McKenna had until Oct. 13 to pay his registration money. From conversations with the player and his family we were under the belief the money had been paid on Oct. 12. We were never informed by the league before Saturday’s game that the player was ineligible as had been done in the past.
“We never received anything official from the league until Oct. 15 that Colton McKenna was ineligible to play on Oct. 13. It was not, or never will be, the Amherst Ramblers intent to ever dress an ineligible player.”
League president Brian Whitehead said the Ramblers are entitled to their opinion and have the right to appeal the league’s decision. He said he’s sure there would be different interpretations of what happened if he, league chairman Dave Ritcey, the Ramblers and the family were to get together in the same room.
“There was a decision made that a player from Amherst was ineligible for a game last Saturday which Amherst won 4-3. The constitution states that using an ineligible player would result in the losing of the two points and that was the decision made by the league,” Whitehead said.
Whitehead said he spent time gathering old memos and minutes to send to the Ramblers so they could formulate within their own group whether or not they wish to proceed.
“That’s a decision they are going to have to make,” Whitehead said.