ZURICH – The IIHF Disciplinary Committee recently dealt with several cases from the past championship season. Among the suspended players are Justin Abdelkader and Nikolai Antropov following incidents occurring at the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, Belarus.
Team USA forward Justin Abdelkader was suspended three games for a check to the head and neck area of Czech player Vladimir Sobotka at 6:41 of the second period in the teams’ quarter-final encounter on 22nd May.
Supported by the video and the report of the championship’s disciplinary panel, the Deciding Panel of the IIHF Disciplinary Board concluded that after Sobotka had shot the puck, Abdelkader did not alter his path nor attempt to play the puck but followed through with what appeared to be a lunge, leaving the ice with his feet and delivering a very forceful check striking Sobotka in the head and neck area with his shoulder. Sobotka immediately fell to the ice. He was escorted from the ice by his team’s medical staff and did not return for the remainder of the game but did return to play in the two following games.
Abdelkader was originally assessed a major penalty and game misconduct penalty for charging. The panel is of the opinion that because of the potential for injury to the brain, checks to the head always must be considered a gross infringement of the playing rules that require additional sanctions, especially in the case at hand where the injured player was not able to return to the game. Considering the extreme unfairness of the action as well as the high risk of brain injuries connected with blows to the head and neck area, the Deciding Panel is of the opinion that a suspension of the player for three games is appropriate and adequate.
Therefore Abdelkader will be suspended for the first three games of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
Kazakh forward Nikolai Antropov checked Swiss forward Kevin Romy to the head and neck area in the teams’ preliminary-round game on 17th May. The incident occurred at 4:49 of the second period.
Based on the video and game report, the Deciding Panel of the IIHF Disciplinary Board concluded that Antropov approached Romy with considerable speed, and while making no attempt to play the puck he lifted his left arm and shoulder delivering a hit to the left head and neck area of Romy, who immediately fell to the ice. Romy did not return to play in the game and missed the remainder of the tournament due to a concussion.
The panel concluded from the way in which the action was carried out that it was executed intentionally and that it could have been extremely dangerous to the health of the victim. The Deciding Panel is of the opinion that such an aggressive action and violation of the rules of ice hockey must be sanctioned in a way that makes it very clear for the aggressor, and any other player, that such a behavior under no circumstances can be tolerated.
Antropov was assessed a match penalty by the game officials and served an automatic one-game suspension in his team’s last game against Finland. The panel added a further suspension of two games for a total of three games. He will serve the suspension in the first two games of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division I Group A.
Adverse Analytical Findings in IIHF championships
The IIHF Disciplinary Committee also dealt with two adverse analytical findings which occurred during the last IIHF championship season.
The substance Clucocorticosteroids/budesonide metabolite 16a-OH-Prednisolone, which is classified under the World Anti-Doping Code Prohibited List, was found in a sample from Swiss player Anthony Rouiller during the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championship. The player declared in the doping control form that he had used a nasal spray containing cortisone, which according to his doctor was prescribed because of atypical diathesis and multifactorial chronic rhinopathy/rhinoinsunitis.
The use of Clucocorticosteroids, like the substance found in the sample, is prohibited (in competition) when the substance is administered by oral, intravenous, intramuscular or rectal routes (WADA Prohibited List Section S 9). Accordingly, the presence of the substance in a player’s sample does not constitute an anti-doping violation if the substance is administered by other routes. This applies here since none of the administration methods mentioned in section S 9 were used by the player, as the substance was administered nasally by a spray. Therefore the player was not sanctioned and the case dropped.
At the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I Group A the presence of acetazolamide was revealed in a test from Latvian player Rudolfs Maslovskis.
In a statement to the IIHF Disciplinary Committee, the player informed and delivered documents that his doctors prescribed the use of Diacarb one time a day after suffering a concussion in a league game on 25 November a few weeks before the event. He stopped taking the medication just before he went to the tournament.
The Deciding Panel is of the opinion that WADA Code Article 10.4 (elimination or reduction of the period of ineligibility for specified substances under specific circumstances) is applicable. In accordance with WADA Code Article 4.2.2 and the 2014 WADA Prohibited List, substances in class 5 are considered as specified substances. The player also has, as this article provides, established how the prohibited substance has entered his system, and that the use of the prohibited substance was not intended to enhance his sport performance or mask the use of a performance enhancing substance. Following the medical report, the panel considers that the medication can be used in the context of a very severe brain injury and severe brain swelling and therefore is convinced that the physicians at the hospital prescribed the medication with their best of intention for medical purposes. The prohibited substance in question was not intended to enhance the player’s sport performance. Acetazolamide is a diuretic and as such has no enhancing quality.
Therefore the panel decided that Maslovskis is assessed a reprimand and no period of ineligibility from further events.
Other disciplinary decisions
Kevin Gronlund of Luxembourg was suspended one game for head-butting an opponent in the game against Hong Kong on 12th April in the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III. He will be suspended for the first game of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship Division III.
Austrian player Clemens Paulweber and Polish player Denis Kuras were suspended one game each for fisticuffs and roughing in the Austria-Poland game of the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division I Group B on 19 April. The suspensions will be served in the first game of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U20 World Championship Division I tournaments of their respective team.
Korean player Woonjae Choi was suspended one game for abuse of an official and unsportsmanlike conduct in the 2014 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A on 29th March. He was assessed a match penalty and the panel concluded that the assessment is correct and no further sanctions to the automatic one-game suspension needed, which the player will serve in the first game of the 2015 IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship Division II Group A.