Cold Lake Fighter Jets stripped of playoff eligibility by AFL

Update Aug. 16. A previous edition of the story misspelled the name of Alberta Football League Vice-President Tylor Johannesson. The error has been corrected.

The Cold Lake Fighter Jets are done for the season after the Alberta Football League said they contravened the league’s bylaws.

The AFL said in a Facebook post that the Fighter Jets breached the Alberta Football League’s Compensation Act.

“It has been brought to the attention of the AFL league council that the Cold Lake Fighter Jets has contravened the Alberta Football League Compensation Act. After reviewing the evidence and hearing the Fighter Jets rebuttals, the league council has voted unanimously to find the Cold Lake Fighter Jets guilty of these allegations. As such, effective immediately, the Cold Lake Fighter Jets football club has been stripped of their playoff eligibility, and fines and suspensions have been levied.”

Cold Lake Fighter Jets team officials said they did not have a statement to make regarding the suspension.

The Fighter Jets finished first in the league with a 7-1 record this regular season and we were preparing to host the Fort McMurray Monarchs in the first round of playoffs this Saturday at the Cold Lake Energy Centre.

AFL League VP *Tylor Johannesson said the league is very strict when it comes to compensation.

He said two players on the team paid for flights for American players to come to the team, which breaks the rules.

Any player getting monetary assistance of any kind is not allowed in our league, Johannesson said.

The Fighter Jets were forced to forfeit the games these players took part of and were stripped of playing in the playoffs.

“It was found with very clear evidence, that two, and possibly three, but definitely two members of the Cold Lake Fighter Jets, not members of the board, but players on the team paid for flights for American players to come and play, which is a direct violation of the competitive balance in our league,” said Johannesson.

“This has been one of the hardest days of my life as far as delivering this news because I know how devastating it is for them and that community.”

He added that the AFL is “very certain” that 95 per cent of the players and board did not know about what was going on.

As part of the league bylaws, the Fighter Jets would’ve been suspended for next season, but that penalty has been waived, said Johanson.

“We’ve wiped that clean. We have told them we want them back without the players in question. And we want them back with a couple of stipulations in place. One would possibly be that players on their team must have proof of Alberta residence up to at least four months before the season starts,” he said.

“So we want them back. This does not reflect on the organization of the Cold Lake Fighter Jets. It was two people that unfortunately ruined it for everybody else.”