SPORTS

Windsor Express coach Bill Jones fined $4K, suspended 1 year

05/08/2015 10:52 EDT | Updated 05/08/2016 05:59 EDT
Windsor Express head coach Bill Jones has been slapped with a one-year suspension and $4,000 fine for his role in the cancellation of Game 7 of the National Basketball Association of Canada championship last week.

Express player Tony Bennett has been banned for life.

"I don't agree with the decision. The investigation was botched," Express owner Dartis Willis said a news conference.

The punishments come after the league investigated a physical altercation between Windsor Express and Halifax Rainmen players at the WFCU Centre on the morning of Game 7.

Windsor police responded to a call about a fight between 15 and 20 people at 10:40 a.m.

When officers arrived, the fight was over and many of the people had already left. The Rainmen were on their team bus.

A Windsor Express assistant coach said the altercation happened after Express staff found the Rainmen practising in the WFCU Centre more than two hours before their scheduled 1 p.m. practice time. 

Words were exchanged and punches and chairs were thrown.

The league declared the Express champions after the Rainmen said they feared for their safety, refused to play Game 7 and headed home.

Jones said at a news conference he regrets the incident and will try to improve his conflict resolution skills.

"I've been in enough scuffles," Jones said.

He said he should have deflated the incident by walking away.

The National Basketball League of Canada previously levied $90,000 in fines against the Halifax Rainmen and their players following the fight and the forfeiture of the championship game.

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