The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League has announced that Nelson Leafs head coach Adam DiBella has been suspended for the remainder of the regular season as well as the 2023 league playoffs. The decision comes following an investigation into DiBella’s role in the Dec. 31 line brawl with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks that already resulted in 35 games in suspensions to Leafs players.
In order to coach in the KIJHL again at any point in the future, DiBella will need to apply for and be granted reinstatement by the Commissioner. The KIJHL League Office will work with its SafeSport partners, ITP Sport, in order to determine the necessary steps for reinstatement.
“Our investigation determined that the incident in Saturday’s game was instigated by the Leafs at Mr. DiBella’s direction,” says KIJHL commissioner Jeff Dubois. “The KIJHL has zero tolerance for these types of actions by any team staff member, and the severity of Mr. DiBella’s suspension reflects the seriousness that we place on leadership and player safety.”
The Nelson Leafs have 15 regular season games remaining and currently sit second in the Neil Murdoch Division with a 16-8-4-1 record.
While under suspension, Mr. DiBella is prohibited from being present in any KIJHL facility for a period beginning one hour before and ending one hour after any Nelson Leafs game. He may not travel on the team bus and he may not be present on the ice, player’s bench, dressing room or office immediately before, during or after team practices. He is not to conduct any official business as a representative of the Nelson Leafs, such as player meetings, trade negotiations and athlete recruitment.
The Nelson Leafs have also been fined $5,000 and instructed to take proactive steps to ensure all team staff are sufficiently trained and educated in the standards of conduct required under KIJHL regulations. A written report outlining steps taken by the organization in these areas must be submitted to the Commissioner no later than June 1, 2023.