IIHF disciplines Sweden for removing silver medals
Frustration over losing is no excuse for refusing to wear a silver medal around your neck, the International Ice Hockey Federation ruled Wednesday.
The IIHF issued multi-game suspensions for five players and three coaches of Sweden’s national team for pocketing or tossing their silver medals into the stands during the closing ceremony of the world junior championships in January. The actions occurred immediately following Sweden’s 3-1 loss to Canada in the gold-medal game at the 10-nation tournament held in Buffalo, New York.
”The players have, by their actions, shown a lack of self-control,” the IIHF said. ”Taking off the silver medals presented to the players shows not only the disrespect against the spectators and the organizers of the championship, but also the disrespect against their opponents and winners of the championship.”
The Swedes violated an IIHF rule requiring players and team officials to wear medals around their necks during the closing ceremony and postgame media availabilities.
Captain Lias Andersson faced the most severe discipline in being issued a four-game ban from next year’s world juniors. Upon being presented his medal, Andersson skated away and immediately tossed it over the glass to a fan.
”I didn’t want it. That guy in the stands wanted it more than me,” Andersson said, noting he has another silver medal just like it back home after losing the Under-18 championship.
He said it made little difference the medal was eventually returned to him.
”I’m just going to have it at home in some box or something,” Andersson said.
Defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NHL draft in June, was suspended from playing the first two games of the Under-18 world championship next year. The ban does not apply to any other league.
Forwards Axel Jonsson and Jesper Boqvist and goalie Olle Eriksson Ek were suspended from playing the first two games at the world juniors next year.
Head coach Tomas Monten was issued a three-game ban from next year’s world juniors for putting the silver medal into his pocket during the ceremony. Assistants Nizze Landen and Henrik Stridh were handed two-game suspensions.
”Losing a game is part of any competition and of the sport of ice hockey, and does not excuse any unfair and unsportsmanlike behavior,” the IIHF ruled. ”To be `frustrated’ by the loss of a game is not the right attitude.”
The players and coaches have three weeks to appeal the rulings.