Score one for the National Hockey League.
On Tuesday the NHL dished out a 20-game suspension to Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman for cross-checking linesman Don Henderson from behind during a game on Jan. 27.
Wideman will forfeit just under $600,000 U.S. in salary if the decision is not overturned in an appeal filed by the NHL Players’ Association Wednesday.
Hockey fans taking in the game between the Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames were shocked to witness Wideman hit the ref in the second period of the game, knocking him to the ground.
To be fair, moments earlier Wideman had taken a hard hit into the boards but for anyone who has reviewed the video footage Wideman’s denial of any wrongdoing is ridiculous.
It’s obvious Wideman went out of his way to hit the ref.
The NHL rulebook states: “any player who deliberately strikes an official and causes injury or who deliberately applies physical force in any manner against an official with intent to injure, or who in any manner attempts to injure an official shall be automatically suspended for not less than 20 games.
“For the purpose of the rule, ‘intent to injure’ shall mean any physical force which a player knew or should have known could reasonably be expected to cause injury.”
Wideman has played in the NHL for 11 seasons and, as an NHL player, is a role model for all youth playing the sport.
Let’s face it, all hockey associations struggle with retaining refs due to all the verbal abuse they have to take on the ice from the players, parents, fans and coaches.
Now they’re going to even have to watch their backs for hits from behind? I don’t think so.
– Williams Lake Tribune