Wednesday, November 4, 2009

OHL Hammers Liambas with Suspension

The Ontario Hockey League has announced that Erie Otters forward Michael Liambas has been suspended for the remainder of the 2009-10 season as well as the playoffs for after the incident on Friday night which resulted in the hospitalization of Kitchener defenceman Ben Fanelli. As a result of the lengthy penalty, Liambas' junior hockey career has come to an end and the 20-year-old will no longer have eligibility after this season.

Here is the official OHL release.
In making the announcement as the result of the review, Commissioner David Branch stated that…”players must understand they shall be held accountable for their actions. We must all work towards improving the level of respect players have towards opposing players and the game in general”.

“It is the position of the Ontario Hockey League that player Michael Liambas of the Erie Otters Hockey Club be suspended for the balance of the 2009-10 playing season including playoffs”.
You already know our position on this. Dean and I both feel this is punishing based on the outcome rather than the actual infraction.

We tried to get Commissioner David Branch on the program last night but he was unavailable for comment because the league had not released their decision. Obviously we've already got a request in for him for our next show on Tuesday.

Mike Brophy of wrote this piece today and Steve Simmons of Sun Media had this to say yesterday. Scott Morrison from CBC and Hockey Night in Canada wrote this and Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News offered up his thoughts on Monday. Some very different views on the same subject.

In Brophy's story it's interesting to read this comment attributed to Branch:
"In the purest sense nobody is saying the hit was illegal, but it is our opinion the distance he traveled and the speed at which he chose to travel at did not demonstrate sufficient respect. If there is an injury then you are going to be held accountable."
So basically, the league feels that the hit itself wasn't over the line but because a player was injured... not sure how you all feel about this rationale but it sets an interesting precedent doesn't it?


doritogrande said...

Completely unjustifiable suspension IMO. I see no intent to injure. It's some dumb 16-year old who turned away from the hit.

If anything, you come down hard on Fanelli and the next kid that's too stupid to do up his chin strap.

Anonymous said...

How can junior leagues say they are serious about preventing head injuries when they are negligent about the use of protective equipment? Why not mandate that the straps must not have a gap over a set amount from the chin in order to keep a helmet in place? Before a game the trainer lines everyone up like a military inspection and makes sure the equipment is done up properly. Refs would have the ability to give out penalties to players that don't comply willingly. Pretty simple way to prevent a lot of concussions.

Trav said...

Lol, this David Branch guy is such a wuss, he obviously doesn't like hitting in the OHL. The suspension was stupid. To bad it wasn't Branch that Fanelli nailed. Knock some sense is to the little wuss.

Trav said...

That Liambas nailed, sry

Guy Flaming said...

Listen, I'm clearly of the belief that there should not be a suspension of this magnitude (if any) but I also don't have the opinion that Fanelli's chinstrap has anything to do with his injuries either.

I've watched that video a hundred times now and I can't tell if he's got it too loose, too tight or if he has one at all (until the helmet is off obviously).

I think Fanelli's biggest problem was that he wasn't aware that he was about to get hit. I detailed that in the initial post on the subject (Monday AM)

Anonymous said...

Its coming! Hitting will soon be eliminated from the game of hockey.Guys like David Branch are trying to make a name for themselves by grabbing eroneous headlines for outlandish acts like this suspension.
So sad.

doritogrande said...

but I also don't have the opinion that Fanelli's chinstrap has anything to do with his injuries either.

The first thing I noticed was his helmet flying off his head after the initial impact of Liambas to Fanelli. Helmet pops right off, then his head creams the glass. Then, for good measure I guess, his head conks the ice on the way down.

The CSA has hideously high standards for their helmets. I have serious doubts that their product is capable of a serious failure of this magnitude when properly utilized (ie: done up).

I've long been a proponent of a 2-minute unsportsmanlike/delay of game penalty called for equipment violations. No neck guard? Helmet not done up? They call stick violations, why is that the only piece of equipment that is a penalized infraction?

That's my take on the current issue. I understand that feelings will differ, but this is a situation that has become a teachable area. Young players should learn from the mistakes of other players. Hopefully, some of them smarten up.

Guy Flaming said...

Doritogrande - I see helmets popping of when the collision is from behind but you might be right that it was a contributing factor to the injury here.

hoil said...

After hearing how terrible this incident was, I eventually got around to viewing the replay. While the injury itself is unfortunate, the hit itself was fairly run of the mill. We all have seen guys hit worse than that without even a 2 minute minor, let alone a suspension.
What they are doing to Liambas is a bigger crime than the hit.