Announced this week, Stockton Thunder player and 7th round draft pick by the Edmonton Oilers in 2010, Kristians Pelss has been suspended 21 games for what is being called a “forceful slash”.
Here’s the official announcement by the ECHL:
In the first period of the game, Pelss delivered a two-handed, forceful slash, behind the play, to the face of an unsuspecting opponent, causing an injury. He is fined and suspended under Rule #28 – Supplementary Discipline.
Two-handed. Forceful slash. Behind the play. To the face. All those things are bad. It’s also a carefully worded explanation for a lengthy suspension. Those that were there (several eyes caught the moment) likened the action to more of a stick swinging event which puts it further into the category of understandable.
For a comparison, here are a few of the most noteworthy suspensions in the same league
Lifetime Ban – Brandon Sugden, Peoria, 2000-2001
Sugden was skating off the ice at the end of the second period in the Jan. 26 game – his debut with Peoria – when he was confronted by a man and woman in an area of the grandstand next to the players’ exit to the locker room. The player says the woman was taunting him with chants of ”Rehab, rehab,” and that he was offended by the personal nature of her verbal assault. Sugden threw his stick into the stands, javelin style, at her male companion after, according to Sugden , the man spit on the player. Witnesses, weighing in on a Dayton team internet site, said the stick knocked a beverage out of the woman’s hand. They also allege the woman left her seat from the other side of the rink and moved into position to confront the player. – via Peoria Journal Star
51 Games – Gary Coupal, Columbus, 2000-2001
Coupal earned a reputation as one of the tough guys of minor league hockey before coming to the WPHL. While playing for Columbus of the East Coast Hockey League in 1995-96, he racked up 408 penalty minutes. The following season, Coupal was suspended for 49 games after knocking an opposing player unconscious despite being on the bench. Over the course of his career, Coupal was banned from three leagues. That included a highly-publicized banning from the UHL, which earned print in Sports Illustrated. Coupal played for Muskegon of the UHL in 1997-98 and had 101 penalty minutes in 26 games. After receiving his ban, he joined Central Texas of the WPHL. He played a total of 72 games for the Stampede before coming to camp with Odessa this season. – via Odessa American
42 Games – Jason Taylor, Columbus, 1991-1992
Taylor hit Hampton Roads center Harry Mews in the face with his stick after Mews got into a scuffle with Mark Cipriano of the Chill. There was no videotape of the incident. Chill coach Terry Ruskowski said he did not see the play. – via Columbus Dispatch
36 Games – Dennis Mullen, Mobile, 2000-2001
ECHL suspends Mysticks player Dennis Mullen to miss rest of season after incident in New Orleans Staff, wire reports Dennis Mullen of the Mobile Mysticks was suspended for 36 games by the East Coast Hockey League on Thursday for throwing his helmet into the stands in New Orleans on Feb. 2. – via Mobile Register
36 Games – Chris Slater, Toledo, 2001-2002
The suspension is the result of Slater flinging himself over the Section 7 dasherboard glass during a stoppage in play late in the second period of a contest against Trenton. He was attempting to go after nine-year Storm season-ticket holder Bruce Downey, who yelled, “Slater , why don’t you do something?” – via Toledo Blade
35 Games – Justin McPolin, 1998-1999
But the very reason the Lizard Kings signed McPolin has resulted in his suspension . The ECHL office suspended McPolin for 35 games yesterday, the action coming after McPolin punched linesman Kirk Wood in the face during the Lizard Kings’ 5-3 loss at New Orleans last Friday. – via The Florida Times-Union
Wow, forgot about the brutality in late 90’s early 00’s minor league hockey. I remember those days, often for the wrong/obvious reasons.