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Kugel hopes to return to OHL
Wed. Nov. 4, 1998.

WINDSOR, Ont. (CP) - A handful of minor-league teams have called the Windsor Spitfires about enforcer Jeff Kugel - who has been banned for life by the Ontario Hockey League - but Kugel said Tuesday he still wants return to the OHL.

"My hope is I don't have to do that (play somewhere else)," said the six-foot-seven, 255-pound forward. "I've been thinking a lot and praying. I just want to come back here and play.

"I want to prove people wrong . . . that I can play in this league. I want to show them that I can play and be tough."

On Monday, OHL commissioner Dave Branch handed Kugel, 18, a lifetime ban from the league for leaving the Windsor bench during an Oct. 25 game against Owen Sound and sucker-punching the Platers' Juri Golicic, who collapsed to the ice. Kugel then chased Owen Sound's Chris Minard to centre ice and gestured wildly to other players before being escorted off the ice.

The Spitfires have 10 days to appeal that ban to the league's board of governors. Branch said Tuesday if the club is quick, the matter can be dealt with at a governors meeting set for Monday in Toronto, but the club says it won't rush.

"We want to take our time and get all the information," Spitfires owner Steve Riolo said Tuesday.

In addition to the ban, Branch formally suspended Kugel for 25 games - a suspension he expects other leagues to honour. After that, Kugel is free to play elsewhere.

"I've been contacted by several minor-league teams," Spitfires coach and GM Tony Curtale said Tuesday.

Kugel, a native of Roseville, Mich., is the sixth player to be suspended from the OHL for life and the first since Plymouth's Jesse Boulerice was banned this spring for a vicious two-handed swing on Guelph's Andrew Long.

Boulerice is now on trial in Michigan facing felony assault charges that carry a penalty of up to 10 years in prison.

(Windsor Star)

© The Canadian Press, 1998