The Kimberley Dynamiters 8-1 victory over the Columbia Valley Rockies is no more as the Dynamiters have defaulted Friday’s game against the Rockies due to dressing an ineligible player.
According to Phil Iddon, vice-president of the KIJHL’s Eddie Mountain Division, the disciplinary decision was officially handed down Monday after confirming the ineligibility of the player in question with B.C. Hockey and Hockey Canada.
“The Kimberley Dynamiters organization was negligent in checking the Hockey Canada Registry,” said Dynamiters head coach Jerry Bancks Wednesday evening. “In no way were we trying to gain an edge on anybody.
“I take full ownership for our mistake. I’m the head coach and I’ll own it. I’ve already apologized to [the players]. It wasn’t done as an act to try and gain an advantage on anybody.”
Tyler Van Steinburg — the ineligible player — is an affiliate player of the Dynamiters. He was eligible to play when he suited up for the Nitros earlier this season as he was registered with the Kootenay Major Midget Ice out of Nelson at the time.
After deciding to return to Cranbrook, Van Steinburg was released from his Hockey Canada registration card by the Midget Ice, rendering him ineligible to play or practice until he was re-registered with Hockey Canada through the Cranbrook Minor Hockey Association.
According to Iddon, Van Steinburg has been considered ineligible since Dec. 18, 2014.
Regulation 26.1 of the KIJHL Constitution dictates the usage of an ineligible player will result in the team forfeiting the game regardless of the score. That rule is handed down to the KIJHL via B.C. Hockey and Hockey Canada.
Van Steinburg played in the Nitros 8-1 victory Jan. 2 in Invermere, registering two assists. Prior to Jan. 2, Van Steinburg’s only other action with the Dynamiters came Dec. 16 at Creston.
“If that player is on the ice, gets hurt and it’s anything more serious than what his basic medical coverage would entail, he is not covered by any supplemental insurance,” Iddon said of why ineligibility is problematic.
“It’s a unique experience why this happened…Usually, [player eligibility issues arise] because of turnover and inexperienced [coaches]. In Jerry [Bancks]’s defence, that player was eligible earlier in the year.”
Iddon has been involved in the KIJHL long enough to have seen it all. Prior to his time as the vice-president of the Eddie Mountain Division, he served 15 years as the president of the Fernie Ghostriders.
“I’ve never seen a circumstance like that. It’s just so rare that, mid-season, a kid moves at the minor-hockey level. It’s unique,” Iddon said. “When you haven’t made any transactions, you assume you’re all hunky dory and good to go because that almost never happens.”
The Dynamiters had not made any transactions prior to Friday’s game against Columbia Valley.
The disciplinary rule regarding player ineligibility is a new regulation dictated by Hockey Canada and introduced at all levels of junior hockey this season. In previous years, the KIJHL suspended coaches to discipline the use of ineligible players, but games were not defaulted. Rules and regulations handed down by Hockey Canada govern all bodies under the Hockey Canada umbrella, including the KIJHL. The only option a league has in making alterations to rules and regulations handed down by Hockey Canada, is to make them more strict or stringent.
A total of four KIJHL games have been defaulted due to player ineligibility this season. Iddon acknowledged that number is high for player-ineligibility incidents, estimating only one or two player ineligibility incidents will arise in an average season.
On Oct. 25, the Kelowna Chiefs defaulted what would have been a 5-0 victory over the Osoyoos Coyotes. Shortly after that on Nov. 7, the Nelson Leafs defaulted what would have been a 5-2 triumph over the Creston Valley Thunder Cats. Then on Dec. 12, the Kamloops Storm defaulted what would have been a 7-3 victory over the 100 Mile House Wranglers.
All player scoring statistics from defaulted games remain intact.
What was originally an 8-1 victory for the Kimberley Dynamiters over the Columbia Valley Rockies now stands as two lost points in the standings for the Nitros and the seventh win of the season for the Rockies.
That shift makes life in the Eddie Mountain Division much more congested.
While the Fernie Ghostriders (28-6-1-2, 59 points) sit comfortably in first place, there is a three-team race for the coveted second spot in the division. Following the disciplinary decision regarding the Dynamiters-Rockies game Friday night, the Golden Rockets (19-15-0-5, 43) retain second place in the division. The Dynamiters (19-15-1-3, 42) sit in third, while the Creston Valley Thunder Cats (18-13-1-4, 41) remain one point back in fourth place. The Rockies (7-24-0-6, 20) sit fifth in the division.
With the KIJHL regular season quickly wearing thin, each point counts. The Rockets have 13 games remaining on their slate, while the Dynamiters have 14 games left on their schedule. With 16 games left to be played, the Thunder Cats have two games in hand on the Nitros and three in hand on the Rockets.
The Dynamiters will look to put the mix up behind them this Friday, Jan. 9, when they travel to Fernie to face the Ghostriders.