Skate kick at player’s neck only gets 2-game IIHF suspension

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The next time you feel the NHL’s Department of Player Safety lets offenders off lightly with suspensions, please consider the International Ice Hockey Federation Disciplinary Panel’s decision this week to give Team Slovenia forward Ziga Jeglic just two games for kicking at an opponent’s neck with his skate.

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From the IIHF:

The violation occurred in front of the Slovenia bench at 28:53 in the 2nd period of the game against Switzerland on 6 May. Switzerland forward Thomas Rufenacht was involved in an altercation with Slovenian forward Robert Sabolic, when Jeglic approached the bench to change over the boards.

In the moment he was sitting on the board and swinging his other leg into the player bench, Jeglic extended his right leg forcefully against Rufenacht, hitting him with the skate blade against his right shoulder and neck area. No penalty was assessed.

Here’s the play in question, which you can also watch here:


So, after seeing that and after their investigation, the IIHF decided:

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.

Yeah, no [expletive].

So the IIHF decides that Jeglic is lying, that he “intentionally and forcefully” tried to kick Rufenacht in the head with his skate with “obvious intent.” And yet this is only worthy of a two-game suspension because … Rufenacht still has a nose, we guess?

Maybe it’s like supplemental discipline in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, where a limited amount of games means that each suspension unofficially counts as double. Maybe the IIHF feels one suspended game at worlds is, like, worth 30 games in a theoretical regular season.

Just spit-balling here. Because this is insane.

Greg Wyshynski is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at 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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