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FROM WOODSTOCK SENTINEL REVIEW (Thursday June 22, 2023)
Hockey coach's one-
Norwich Merchants head coach Keli Corpse has served a one-
The Ontario Hockey Federation has ruled the accusations against the former OHL scoring star were baseless and the Jr. C league and everyone associated with it – including the Navy Vets and the Ontario Hockey Association – must expunge any records of this punishment and, for all intents and purposes, it never happened.
A $5,000 fine against the Norwich organization must also be immediately rescinded and accusations of tampering against it must also be expunged.
“We’re happy we won,” Corpse said. “You look at it like we won, but we also lost (a year). I was able to get my team’s money back, but I’m still pretty disappointed it took these governing bodies to come up with a decision like this.
“This all could have been solved over a cup of coffee with the evidence. I’m relieved, happy for my family and happy people get to know I didn’t do this and I can tell everybody that has been proven.”
An OHF panel including chair Sally Gunz, Jared Gillespie and Alan Reinhardt found Corpse had not previously received a fair hearing and had every right to appeal the decision. The panel also ruled there was insufficient evidence that Corpse’s son Colt’s informal summer skates in 2022 at the Southwood Arena complex in Woodstock could be categorized as a tryout session and that his father’s actions while watching from the stands did not amount to tampering.
The league, it continued, provided “virtually no evidence” that would meet a reasonable measure of fairness to support its case and its sole witness could only describe evidence provided to him from third-
PJHL commissioner Terry Whiteside and Woodstock president Devon Young, whose organization filed the original complaint against Corpse, did not respond to Free Press interview requests Thursday.
The Merchants finished 29-
“I would have liked to have dedicated myself to the team and provided a service to those kids,” he said. “I’m just lucky I have a good family around me for support and a good bunch of friends. Obviously, Norwich backed me the whole time. I can’t count the hours my wife and representative put in for me to put an appeal together.
“The paperwork and man hours we put in was pretty stressful.”
Corpse plans to coach the Merchants in the 2023-
“I’m not putting anything past anybody at this point,” he said. “From start to finish, I feel like I’ve been targeted, bullied and, at times, threatened. I want to coach and get back to something I love and something that basically I’ve been prescribed to do by my doctor.
“It helps me through my recovery from being off work (in law enforcement) right now.”
Once it was evident to Corpse that his appeal wouldn’t be heard in time to save his 2022-
“I’m lucky I have the resources and I’ve been around the game long enough that I know the ins and outs and was willing to fight,” he said. “Not one (other) team in the league came out and said, ‘hey, we’re behind you.’ What I tell them is when something happens they don’t truly believe in, they might want to look at options.
“There are bylaws in place and people have to follow them. That goes for the league, too. They need to do the right things, as well. The PJHL didn’t do a proper investigation. I believe my true character has come to the forefront, and hopefully, it clears my name now.”
The current direction in Ontario hockey is that leagues are tasked with the power to run themselves until it is proven that they are incapable of doing so. Corpse believes the OHF took a long time to sort out his appeal, but that “they got it right and got the right people on board to investigate.”
“I just hope moving forward these governing bodies in the game jump in and start doing the right thing,” he said. “There’s no reason a player, coach or executive should be suspended for a year (without cause).”
As of now, there are no sanctions levied against the league for the handling of its hearings. The OHF indicated in its final report that nothing could be done “to recoup the period Corpse was suspended.”
Meanwhile, Keli’s son Colt continues to run his summer skates in Woodstock for friends and interested junior hockey players.
“There’s nothing wrong with him running those skates,” Keli said, “and he started them earlier this month.”
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR
HE WAS SELECTED AS THE TOWNSHIP OF NORWICH
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR
FROM THE AGE OF 15 WHEN HE FIRST PLAYED FOR YOUR
NORWICH MERCHANTS 48 YEARS AGO, RANDY HAS BEEN THE HEART AND SOUL OF YOUR NORWICH MERCHANTS
BUT THIS GENTLEMANS DEDICATION AND COMMITTMENT GO FAR BEYOND THAT TO OUR TOWNSHIP OF NORWICH COMMUNITY.
WEDNESDAY NIGHT RANDY WAS RECOGNIZED FOR HIS SELFLESS CONTRIBUTION
& THANK YOU