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Stephen Dixon suspended for two games

Devils' forward receives suspension for Checking from behind

An incident occurred in Cardiff on Saturday, February 22nd, involving Cardiff Devils' #11 Stephen Dixon on Guildford Flames' #27 Ian Watters, for which a 5 minute major penalty for checking from behind was assessed by the Referee.

The incident was reviewed by the EIHL Department of Player Safety which determined 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, play is in the Guildford Flames' attacking zone. With the Flames in possession of the puck, Ian Watters is skating in close proximity to the boards in pursuit of the puck. Reading the play and located directly behind Watters is defending player Stephen Dixon. Dixon makes a choice to deliver a body check on Watters, which results in Watters being directed into the boards in a reckless and endangering manner.

The reason for supplementary discipline is the choice of contact Dixon delivered the check with, which is considered a check from behind. With Dixon located behind Watters and clearly seeing the back numbers of his jersey, Dixon took advantage of Watters by raising his stick in a horizontal manner and delivering contact above Watters' shorts. What makes the check more dangerous is the distance Watters is from the boards; with a small gap from the boards and Dixon delivering a forceful cross check, the contact propelled Watters dangerously into the boards. It is deemed that Watters had a regard for the puck and had no way to properly protect himself for an illegal check from behind. Although there appeared to be an apparent injury, Watters was able to return to play the following period.

It is also deemed that Dixon had alternatives other than the decision he made. Checking when knowing that he is located directly behind the opposing player, and timing the contact when the opposing player is a dangerous distance from the boards, must be avoided. Dixon would be better having regard for the puck and either skating to angle or, at minimum, minimising contact. The use of a stick in a cross checking manner is also not a permitted manner in delivering contact and must be avoided.

Effective immediately, Cardiff Devils #11 Stephen Dixon is fined and suspended for two games.

Key References:

  • Check from Behind
  • Reckless and endangering
  • Proximity to the boards
  • Category 1 - Careless

Cardiff were informed of the suspension at 10:06 this morning.

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