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Anthony DeLuca suspended for one game

Steelers forward suspended for Checking to the Head

An incident occurred in Glasgow on Sunday 17 November involving Sheffield Steelers' #15 Anthony DeLuca and Glasgow Clan's #11 Matt Haywood, after which a Minor and Misconduct for Checking to the Head were assessed by the Referee. 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.

As the video shows, Glasgow Clan’s Jordan Heywood enters the Sheffield Steelers’ defensive zone with puck possession. Heywood makes a pass to trailing player Matt Haywood in the high slot area of the ice. Back checking and located in between Heywood and Haywood, DeLuca is making what is considered a good defensive play. Reading the pass across ice, DeLuca attempted to play the puck. With no success and the puck travelling directly to Haywood, who is in a prime scoring area of the ice, DeLuca makes a choice to alter his skating path directly towards Haywood. It is considered normal in this incident that DeLuca would attempt to body check Haywood. However, the body check DeLuca delivered is considered a Check to the Head and deemed illegal.

DeLuca elevated his shoulder up and out, made contact to the head area, and did not make substantial body to body contact. Haywood was, however, able to continue playing in the game.

It is important to note that the body rotation (spin) of Haywood was caused more by his arms taking some of the impact, not just due to head contact. Considering Haywood is a left shot, with attention to his left and working to gain puck possession, the check is unsuspecting, and it is deemed that DeLuca took advantage of an unsuspecting player. DeLuca is permitted to make a check on this type of play if he makes body to body contact, does not elevate his shoulder and avoids contact to the head area of the opposing player. Although there was no apparent injury, the potential of a serious injury on this type of check is very high.

Effective immediately, Sheffield Steelers #15 Anthony DeLuca is fined and suspended for 1 game.

Key References:

  • Check to the head
  • Unsuspecting
  • Reckless and endangering
  • Category 1 – Careless
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