WHL fines Portland Winterhawks, suspends coach for season
The team was punished for several player-benefit violations, including flights for family members.
CALGARY, Alberta — The Western Hockey League suspended Portland Winterhawks coach and general manager Mike Johnston for the rest of the season, fined the team $200,000 and took away several draft picks Wednesday because of player-benefit violations over the past four seasons.
The WHL said the Winterhawks will be excluded from the first five rounds of the 2013 WHL bantam draft and will forfeit their first-round selections in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. Should the first-round selection in 2014 not be available due to a conditional trade, Portland will surrender its second- and third-round picks.
The Winterhawks' violations included paying for training regimens for players, flights for players' families and providing a cellphone for the team captain for three seasons.
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, the team said.
Steve LeBrun shot an 8-under 64 on PGA West's Stadium Course in La Quinta, Calif., to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour qualifying tournament.
Former Husky Richard H. Lee shot a 66. Michael Putnam of University Place and Jeff Gove of Seattle shot 69s. Ex-Husky Alex Prugh had a 74.
The top 25 and ties will receive 2013 PGA Tour cards and the next 50 and ties will earn Web.com Tour cards.
• Kathleen Ekey, Moriya Jutanugarn and former Washington State golfer Kim Welch shot 4-under 68 to share the lead after the first round of the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament.
Rebecca Lee-Bentham and Ashleigh Simon were a stroke back, and two-time tour winner Laura Diaz topped the group at 70. The top 20 after the 90-hole event at LPGA International will earn full tour status.