Molly Engstrom sucker punch earns 1st suspension in NWHL history (Video)

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Greg Wyshynski
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What do you do when you have an illegal play in a pro hockey league but don’t have a dozen television cameras at the rink to film it?

As this National Women’s Hockey League Dept. of Player Safety video shows, you go to the security cam tape.

The NWHL suspended defender Molly Engstrom of the Connecticut Whale on Thursday for one game after a cross-check and a punch to the head of Meghan Duggan of the Buffalo Beauts. Engstrom was given a major penalty for a check to the head and a game misconduct during the Dec. 6 game; Duggan watched the rest of the contest in street clothes.

The NWHL used a camera located at rink level and security footage from Chelsea Piers’ rink in Stamford to piece together the suspension video.

It’s a little surprising that Engstrom only earned one game for what was essentially an assault on Duggan – who, it should be said, has had a history of concussion problems – but NWHL writer Hannah Bevis makes a good point about this suspension in the context of the NWHL season:

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That said, the NHWL tells Puck Daddy that Engstrom will lose a game check as a result of the suspension. She will miss Sunday's game at the New York Riveters. 

The NWHL also put out a player safety video for an incident that didn’t earn a suspension:

As the video shows, Zoe Hickel of the Boston Pride drove Taylor Holze (New York Riveters) into the open bench doorway. She was given a boarding minor in the game, but rather than suspend her the NWHL decided to rewrite its rules regarding the bench door. It has to remain closed unless: 

1) If an injured player is in the process of leaving the ice

2) If a goaltender is in the process of being pulled

3) It’s between whistles and in-between periods

These hearings were held on Wednesday afternoon in New York City and included NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan, NWHLPA Director Erika Lawler, Patrick Burke from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety and representatives from the NWHLPA who did not partake in the game where each incident was in question.

Great to see the NWHL being proactive in protecting its players.

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Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at puckdaddyblog@yahoo.com or find him on Twitter. His book, TAKE YOUR EYE OFF THE PUCK, is available on Amazon and wherever books are sold.

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