Minor leaguer suspended for hitting trainer in ear with puck

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. (AP) A minor league hockey player in Tennessee has been suspended for the remainder of the season for deliberately shooting the puck into an opposing team’s bench and injuring a trainer’s ear.

Jason Price of the Knoxville Ice Bears must sit out the remainder of the 2016-17 regular season and the playoffs, the Southern Professional Hockey League said Thursday.

Knoxville coach Mike Craigen has been suspended four games and fined an undisclosed amount.

SPHL officials said Price received a match penalty Saturday for deliberately shooting the puck into the Huntsville Havoc’s bench late in the third period. SPHL officials said trainer Jason Lopez of the Alabama team was injured when the puck hit his ear.

Ashley Balch, the president of the Havoc, said Lopez ”still has ringing in his ear and hearing loss in his right ear.”

Mike Murray, the Ice Bears’ president and general managers said, ”We don’t necessarily agree with the terms of the rulings, but we do however respect the league’s decision all the way around.”