NOJHL Thunderbirds Culture Improper Consent

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NOJHL Thunderbirds – Culture Improper Conduct

In the wake of the suspensions handed down Friday by the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, the Soo Thunderbirds will have a familiar face take over behind the bench.

Toots Kovacs will take over as coach of the team as the Thunderbirds prepare for the RBC Cup in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca announced friday morning that Thunderbirds coaches Preston Mizzi and Jamie Henderson have been suspended indefinitely by the league.

Mizzi and Henderson were suspended for “conduct that is prejudicial to the NOJHL, conduct that is detrimental to the interests of the NOJHL.”

The suspensions were handed down after an investigation in which an independent investigator was used to look into off-ice allegations.

In a prepared statement, Kovacs said he would not comment on the suspensions.

Following if a full release from Kovacs, released through Thunderbirds president Albert Giommi:

I was contacted in early April by Mr. Giommi about the possibility of coaching the Soo Thunderbirds until the end of the year due to an investigation headed up by the NOJHL.

I have made arrangements with my employer as well received the blessing from my wife Diana and family.

I will have no comment on the decision that was made by the league regarding the current suspensions.

My first order of business is to meet with the team captains.

These players have faced a ton of adversity over the past month or so, however they seem to be strong bunch that have bonded well together. Hey sometimes adversity makes one’s character stronger.

The focus right now should be on the players on the Soo Thunderbirds Hockey Club and what they have accomplished to date. They have the chance to showcase their talents at the most prestige’s Junior A hockey tournament in Canada. The Royal Bank Cup is the Stanley Cup of the NHL and the Super Bowl of the NFL. Some of our players will never get this opportunity again. This is a once in a lifetime chance.

I look forward to representing the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League at the 2012 Royal Bank Cup in Humboldt, Saskatchewan.

Rumors of this type of behavior have been present for months. Unfortunately this does not look to be the end of some off ice issues for Soo Thunderbirds Players. TJHN has learned that another criminal investigation is ongoing. The nature of that investigation, and the persons involved, is so sensative TJHN has decided to leave the potential defendants nameless at this time.

Certainly many players are known to have behaved improperly at times, and there is a price to pay for that activity. There is a difference between a course of conduct and a culture of trying to hide or get away with that activity and simply making a mistake. Unfortunately this action looks to be a course of conduct that is part of the culture within the T-Birds organization. TJHN will follow this story up as it develops.

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