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Marc-Olivier Vallerand suspended for one game

Steelers' forward receives suspension for Roughing

An incident occurred on Sunday 3 November involving Sheffield Steelers’ #88 Marc-Olivier Vallerand during the game between the Guildford Flames and Sheffield Steelers, which is deemed as Roughing. The incident was reviewed by the EIHL’s Department of Player Safety, which determined that supplementary discipline is required under Category 1 – ‘Careless’ – insufficient attention or thought to avoid harm or error. It is liable to happen as a consequence of, or by intending to, affect an opponent through a reactionary or accidental motion; or the incident is deemed careless caused by negligence.

With #88 Marc-Olivier Vallerand gaining puck possession in his own defending zone and skating end-to-end, he was body-checked along the end wall of the attacking zone by Guildford Flames’ #77 Owen Griffiths. A player skating from end-to-end and attempting to maintain puck possession in the attacking zone has to assume that he may be body checked. Griffiths simply made a legal body check and did not make any action that would either be considered illegal, nor give Marc-Oliver Vallerand a purpose for retaliation.

Immediately after the body check occurred, both players fell to the ice. Griffiths fell with his chest (front side) on the ice. Vallerand fell on top, and located on the backside of Griffiths. With Griffiths in a defenceless and unsuspecting position, Vallerand punched the back of the head of Griffiths, propelling his face towards the ice. The game officials assessed a 5+ Game Misconduct for Cross Checking - it does appear that, with the stick in the top hand (right hand) and left hand close to the stick, a cross check did occur. However, after reviewing the video, the conclusion is that it was more of a punch than a cross check.

As the Fighting/Roughing rule is explained in the EIHL Casebook, “A match penalty shall be assessed to a player who punches an unsuspecting opponent or causes an injury”. The punch to the back of Griffiths’ head was done out of retaliation for a clean body check. Vallerand is determined to be the cause of, and responsible for, the reckless and endangering action. There was no apparent injury from the incident, however, the potential of injury is high on these types of actions.

Effective immediately, Sheffield Steelers #88 Marc-Olivier Vallerand is fined and suspended for one game. 

Key References:

  • Roughing
  • Unsuspecting
  • Reckless and endangering
  • Category 1 – Careless
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