The Ontario Hockey League has suspended referee Joe Monette for the rest of the 2012-13 season and the playoffs for his inappropriate use of social media.
As you may recall, this weekend the 28-year-old official made headlines when he took to his Twitter on Friday night and posted a derogatory comment about Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.
"@MONZY25: Soo Saint Marie, two words, Slim Pickens. #noteeth #hicktown #allfaties"
Monette, a native of Windsor, Ont., was supposed to work the Saturday game between the Soo Greyhounds and the Oshawa Generals, but was pulled because of the uproar.
"There is a responsibility to ensure that at all times we conduct ourselves in a most professional manner," said OHL commissioner Dave Branch in a press release on Wednesday. "Mr. Monette displayed extremely poor judgment and the “tweet” not only contravened the League’s Social Networking Policy, but as well was detrimental to the welfare of the League, the officiating staff and fans of the OHL. The League apologizes to those that may have been offended by such comments.”
Shortly after the tweet went viral, Monette locked his Twitter account from being viewed by the public, though he did apologize -- also via Twitter -- for the comment about the Soo.
"My tweet last night (Friday) was not meant to be offensive and was meant as a joke between myself and a buddy of mine that lives in the Soo. I apologize if I offended anybody."
There's no way Monette would have been able to work a game involving the Soo this season. Referees are entrusted to show good judgement -- by the league, players, coaches, and fans -- and even though the incident occurred off the ice in cyberspace, this was a really terrible call.
Greyhounds GM Kyle Dubas -- an active Twitter user himself @kyledubas -- said he understands the perils of social media and isn't worried about Monette calling Soo games in the future.
"With social media it's so instant," said Dubas. "Whether someone thinks it's funny or whatever -- and listen I've made my share of what I think are mistakes on social media as well -- but once it's out there, it's out there.
"I think most people make mistakes on social media and this is just another example of that."
ROSE ESCAPES SUSPENSION: Owen Sound Attack defenceman Brayden Rose has escaped suspension despite receiving a Category II "abuse of official" penalty on Saturday in a game against the Guelph Storm. Usually an infraction of this nature comes with an automatic 10-game suspension. The league however reviewed the footage of the bout with Guelph's Tyler Bertuzzi and the subsequent tussle with referee Sean Reid and felt a suspension was unwarranted. According to the Attack, Rose is expected to be in the lineup on Wednesday night against the Barrie Colts.
Here's part of the Rose altercation caught on video: