American sanctioned for check to the head
Team USA forward 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.
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