Nelson Leafs have accepted the resignation of Adam DiBella after he was suspended by the KIJHL for his role in instigating a brawl with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks that resulted in 35 games worth of suspensions being issued to players from both sides.
The KIJHL announced this morning they had suspended DiBella for the remainder of the season and the playoffs. Commissioner Jeff Dubois says the league has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to these types of actions by any team member, or staff and the punishment must match the severity of the offense.
“In the case of DiBella, we made the determination through our investigation that he directed his players to start a line brawl,” says Dubios. “Based on the conduct policy in the league we made the decision to suspend him for the remainder of the season, and playoffs.”
Dubois says on top of the suspension the league is taking steps with the team to ensure incidents like this don’t happen again..
“We’ve instructed the Nelson Leafs to take steps to educate their team staff, coaches in terms of expectations of conduct,” he says. “What happened with the line brawl falls way outside our expectations of proper conduct by a coach. There have been a number of infractions from the coaching staff over the last couple of years, and the team needs to get a handle on it.”
Dubois says the action that the league took was not something they looked forward to and doesn’t reflect what the KIJHL is about.
“It is an unfortunate situation,” he says. “Outside the individuals involved, and the punishment, this isn’t something that happens regularly. It isn’t what our league is about, there are a lot of great things about our league like player development and high levels of competition. That is what we want people to focus on.”
In addition to the suspension, DiBella is also restricted from traveling with the team to games and cannot be in any KIJHL facility one hour before, or after the game. He is also not permitted to conduct any business related to the Leafs.
According to a media release, DiBella will have to apply for, and be granted, reinstatement by the commissioner to coach in the KIJHL at any point in the future.
The team has also been fined $5,000.
The team will be under the guidance of assistant coach Tyson Soobotin and general manager Lance Morey until a replacement is announced.
The team will not be appealing any of the decisions of the BC Hockey Council Department of Player Safety and the KIJHL.
The New Year’s Eve match in Nelson saw several skirmishes, the worst of which took place as soon as the puck dropped in the second period.