Kings prospect and Belleville Bulls captain Jake Marchment was suspended for 15 games by the Ontario Hockey League for “inappropriate and concerning activity” following an abusive, harassing conversation with a woman on the dating application Tinder. Greg Betzold of the Peterborough Petes was also suspended for 15 games for similar activity, the league announced yesterday.
The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Greg Betzold of the Peterborough Petes and Jake Marchment of the Belleville Bulls have each been suspended for 15 games. These suspensions follow recent social networking activity that has come to the League’s attention. This most inappropriate and concerning activity contravenes the League’s social networking policy and a number of other policies including Respect in Sport (Harassment and Abuse) and diversity.
The OHL takes issues related to respect, diversity and harassment very seriously. The social networking conduct displayed by these players goes against what the League stands for and serves to highlight a sense of entitlement that we, as a League, have worked hard to try to eliminate. We believe these suspensions, going forward, will reinforce to our players that all activity, be it in person, on the ice or online, must be in keeping with our policies. These events further illustrate that the League and our teams must continually work with our players to ensure they understand and appreciate our social networking policy. The League will also look to our current programs, outlined in our Players First Guide, to see where improvements may be made in terms of communications and respect for others.
Marchment, a forward, was selected in the sixth round in 2014. He is the nephew of former NHL defenseman Bryan Marchment.
The abusive comments were made from a teammate’s phone. On Twitter yesterday, Marchment denied his teammate’s responsibility and apologized for his actions, saying “I have embarrassed myself, my teammates, the Belleville Bulls organization and the city of Belleville.”
The heavy-handed suspensions were the correct move by the Ontario Hockey League, which clearly articulated that degrading outbursts towards innocent women are much more serious offenses than in-game, heat of the moment illegal hits. In these situations one can only hope that Marchment and Betzold are able to fully comprehend the consequences that can come from online harassment and return with a greater understanding of the way to treat women and those outside of their junior hockey circles.