SPORTS

More fines, suspensions issues in fallout from NBL final and no-show

05/08/2015 12:21 EDT | Updated 05/08/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - The fallout continues from the bizarre battle between the Windsor Express and Halifax Rainmen.

The National Basketball League of Canada suspended Windsor's head coach Bill Jones one year and fined him $4,000, while Windsor guard Tony Bennett has been suspended indefinitely pending a review. Halifax assistant coach Pedro Monteiro has been fined an additional $4,000.

The news comes a week after the NBL handed out $90,000 in fines to the Halifax Rainmen after they failed to show up for Game 7 of the league final against Windsor. The Rainmen argued they felt unsafe after a morning altercation with the Express at shootarounds.

"There's no doubt that there were multiple errors in judgement on both sides on the morning of April 30th that led to the game not being played," said Vito Frijia, spokesman for the NBL board, and owner of the London Lightning. "We felt it was our obligation as directors to show that the league will not tolerate a coach initiating a physical altercation with a player."

The league was swift in punishing the Rainmen, banning Halifax head coach Josep Claros for life from coaching in the NBL the day after the debacle, and fining him $10,000. The Rainmen organization was fined $20,000, and 11 Rainmen players were fined $5,000.

Frijia said in regards to Bennett, the league's investigation was inconclusive, ". . . and so we have suspended him from the league until we can ascertain his, and other individuals', testimony who have not yet replied."

Windsor won the series 4-3 by default for its second consecutive title in what was a huge black eye for the fledgling league.

Halifax players spoke out earlier this week about the ugly incident, saying they felt they'd been abandoned by the Rainmen organization.

Guard Forrest Fisher said players returned to Halifax to find they had been kicked out of their apartments, booked on flights out of town and have not received their latest paycheques.

Frijia said the four-year-old league will continue, despite the season's bizarre ending.

"We are looking forward to our owner's meeting next Thursday in Toronto to work together to start planning our 2015-16 season, as well as establishing measures to strengthen the league," he said.

MORE:cpSports