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Delta Ice Hawks stripped of four wins after "system error"

PJHL take away victories over a 12-day period as club awaits results of an IT ticket to find out why player wasn't added to their reserve roster
Ice Hawks practice 2022
Delta Ice Hawks GM/head coach Steve Robinson has some extra work ahead of him to make up ground in the standings after the Pacific Junior Hockey League stripped the club of four wins for dressing an eligible player during a 12-day period.

The Delta Ice Hawks got back to their winning ways Saturday night — a day after learning they had been stripped of four victories by the Pacific Junior Hockey League.

The Ice Hawks skated to a 2-0 road victory over the Mission City Outlaws behind the 28-save performance of rookie goaltender Zach Shaughnessy.

They now trail the Richmond Sockeyes for first place in the PJHL’s Tom Shaw Conference by six points after Friday’s ruling took away wins over a 12-day period against Surrey (Dec. 29), Richmond (Jan. 1) North Vancouver (Jan. 3) and Chilliwack (Jan. 10).

“The league investigated allegations of the Delta Ice Hawks participating in games using an illegal roster. During the investigation it was found that during the following games the Delta Ice Hawks did roster on the score sheet an ineligible player,” said the PJHL in a released statement.

“As per league regulations teams found participating in games with an illegal roster will result in the forfeiture of points earned during those games. The above games will be deemed as a forfeit and two points in each contest will be awarded to Delta’s opponent.

No further comment will be made on the matter and findings and the investigation is now closed.”

The player deemed ineligible was forward Josh Kee who played for Delta last season and was traded to the White Rock Whalers in September, playing 13 games and registering one assist. The Delta native approached his former team on Dec. 1 about potentially concluding his junior career back in his hometown.

The Ice Hawks could only offer full-time affiliate player status with no guarantees of playing time. It took about three weeks for Kee to get his release from the Whalers, signed by a Juvenile A1 team on a residential transfer and for the Hawks to receive final approval from B.C. Amateur Hockey via email.

When Delta was missing at least six regulars over the holidays, it thought it was in a position to call-up Kee. He averaged just over three minutes of ice time per game and picked-up one assist as the Hawks outscored their opponents 26-8.

The club says it was an error in the software registration system that kept Kee off the PJHL reserve (affiliate) roster which resulted in being stripped of those wins.

“This investigation by the PJHL was conducted as a result of the Delta Ice Hawks reporting a registration system error to the BC Hockey office. The transfer of an affiliate player was approved in the registration system by the minor hockey association, PJHL, and BC Hockey, but the player’s name was not posted to the Delta Ice Hawks' affiliate roster. In light of the system error, BC Hockey (has) submitted a ticket to the registration system’s IT support. The findings from the ticket are still pending,” said team owner/president Eduard Epshtein in statement released prior to Saturday’s game.

"Notwithstanding, the PJHL issued a ruling with respect to the forfeiture of the four games in which the player had participated in. The Delta Ice Hawks respect the PJHL’s decision and look forward to the remainder of the very exciting season and playoffs.”

Delta has nine regular season games remaining including Tuesday’s home tilt with defending league champion Langley at 7:30 p.m. in Ladner.

“Eduard has made his statement and now we need to make ours. With poise and class we just play hard for each other and to win,” added GM and head coach Steve Robinson.