The Western Hockey League hit the Portland Winterhawks with a number of punishments Wednesday for what it calls "a series of player benefit violations" over the course of four years.
The Winterhawks were fined $200,000, and General Manager/head coach Mike Johnston has been suspended for the rest of the season and the 2013 WHL Playoffs.
WHL also suspended the Winterhawks from the first five rounds of the 2013 WHL Draft and forced the team to forfeit its first round picks in the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017 drafts.
In a statement, the Winterhawks summarized the violations as the following:
The Winterhawks say the WHL's audit found no violations involving monetary payments made to players, their families or agents or any violations related to the league's educational packages.
Johnston said he was "extremely surprised at the excessive nature of the sanctions, and we don't feel they are in line with the scope of the violations we were found to have committed."
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