Beecher suspended one-game
by Adam Steiss|05 JAN 2020
John Beecher was assessed a one-game suspension that will carry over to next season.
photo: Matt Zambonin / HHOF-IIHF Images
The IIHF has issued a one-game suspension to Team USA forward John Beecher. He will be ineligible to compete for one game at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. 

Beecher’s suspension comes as a result of a violation of IIHF Official Playing Rule 119-Boarding, committed during Team USA’s quarter-final game against Finland. 

The violation occurred at 16:33 in the 1st period. Finnish defenceman Lassi Thomson lifted the puck alongside the boards and out of the Finland defensive zone. At that moment, teammate Eemil Erholtz was positioned in between the blue and the red line, facing the Finland bench. 

The puck landed in front of Erholtz, and he tried to chip it in the direction of the USA zone. Right after this attempt to play the puck, Erholtz got ready to be substituted. Therefore, Erholtz found himself within one meter from the boards of the Finland bench and with his back to the center of the ice. Beecher, while skating out of the Finland defensive zone, approached Erholtz and skated towards him. Beecher was not looking at the puck but was instead focused on checking Erholtz. Then, Beecher checked Erholtz from the back with his right shoulder. This caused Erholtz to hit the edge of the boards of the FIN bench with his head.  

The Disciplinary Panel determined that Beecher’s conduct during the incident was overly aggressive and irresponsible – not only because Beecher drove his body into the back of Erholtz when delivering the check – but also because Beecher, being aware of Erholtz’s vulnerable position, still made the decision to deliver a hard check. Beecher’s actions were dangerous, created a serious risk of injury to Erholtz, and violated IIHF Official Rule 119 (Boarding). 

Team USA was eliminated from the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship following the 1-0 quarter-final loss to Finland. Given Beecher’s eligibility to play in next year’s World Juniors, the one-game suspension shall apply to USA’s first game of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship. Should he be selected to play for Team USA, Beecher will be ineligible to compete in the first preliminary round game of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship.