An ugly incident at the IIHF World Championships has landed a Slovenian player a two-game suspension from the competition.
During the second period of a game on Saturday, Slovenia’s Ziga Jeglic was going for a line change when he swung his skate towards the neck of Switzerland forward Thomas Rufenacht as he was hopping over the bench. It was an extremely dangerous play that could have resulted in a horrific injury but, thankfully, it did not.
Still, Jeglic needed to face repercussions, and apparently a two-game suspension was deemed appropriate.
Based on all facts ascertained, the Disciplinary Panel determined that while Jeglic indicated that his only intention was to enter the bench as fast as possible, he intentionally and forcefully extended his leg in the direction of Rufenacht, risking to hit him in a vulnerable and dangerous position and so endangered the health of his opponent.
Jeglic would have had space to change further away or pull his leg over the board in a different way. There is a clear swinging motion with his skate directed to the neck and head area of Rufenacht. Jeglic’s kicking action demonstrated obvious intent as he swings his leg into the bench and attempts to kick his opponent in the head and neck area, a violation of Rule 152-Kicking, and warrants a two-game suspension. This was a very dangerous and reckless action that could have resulted in a serious injury.
The NHL’s Department of Player Safety gets plenty of flak for how it handles discipline — especially when it comes to headshots — but I feel very confident in saying that they would crack down with a much more severe ban if they determined that a player intentionally tried to swing their skate blade at an opponent’s neck.
Arguably the only thing worse than that is going full Happy Gilmore and taking the skate off of your foot before attacking someone with it.