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Moose Jaw Players, GM, Coach Suspended Following Mysterious Incident

Photo courtesy of Nick Pettigrew/Moose Jaw Warriors

Moose Jaw Players, GM, Coach Suspended Following Mysterious Incident

The Western Hockey League has finally shed some light on the situation involving four Moose Jaw Warriors players following a vague team release one month ago.

That release stated that Connor Ungar, Max Wanner, Lynden Lakovic, and Marek Howell had been suspended indefinitely pending an investigation into possible violations of team rules and the WHL Standard of Conduct policies.

This past weekend, the league announced that the four players would remain suspended until the conclusion of the 2022-23 regular season, while the team’s head coach Mark O’Leary and general manager Jason Ripplinger were also each banned for five games as a result of “failing to provide the proper oversight and supervision required to ensure a safe and positive environment for players, in particular, while travelling.”

The Warriors hockey club was slapped with a $25K fine.

The release indicated that the incident in question was off-ice in nature and occurred on a team road trip while in Edmonton in early February.

“Though the conduct of the players was not found to be criminal in nature, the conduct was determined to be a violation of team and league rules including the WHL Standard of Conduct policies, as outlined in the WHL Personal Conduct Policy.”

The suspended players are now required to complete personal conduct and respect training in order to be reinstated by the league following their ban.

With zero indication as to what actually occurred, the WHL’s Standard of Conduct includes a variety of topics to which the four players may have found themselves in hot water: racism/sexism, sexual assault, drug/alcohol use, etc.

The WHL’s Standard of Conduct requires all participants to report violations, and all participants must cooperate with investigations led by the WHL.

The four players in question include 21-year-old goaltender Connor Ungar, 19-year-old defenceman Max Wanner, and 16-year-olds Lynden Lakovic and Mark Howell. Dating back to February 8, all four players have been out of the Warriors’ lineup, meaning they will each be suspended for a total of 17 games this season.

Ungar is the highest profiled player among the crew, as his .925 save percentage was tops across the league at the time of the initial suspension. The former Brandon Wheat King was also third in wins (26). Wanner is the other veteran player involved, and was selected by the Edmonton Oilers as a seventh round pick back in 2021. He put up eight goals and 30 points in 44 games this year.

The Warriors, with a 38-22-0-3 record, are fourth in the WHL’s Eastern Conference and have punched their ticket to the postseason, to which the four players can be eligible to return, pending successful results in the personal conduct and respect training courses.


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