The Hazelton Wolverines’ assistant captain was injured during a heated moment on the ice during the team’s last match against the Smithers Steelheads.
In the second period of the game with the Steelheads up 6-0, Randall Groot laid a smashing hit on Mitch Marshall.
There was an exchange of tempers as the players left the Wolverines’ zone, all of which culminated when Groot, out of nowhere, crosschecked Marshall to the back of the neck and Marshall went down hard. Two trainers rushed to Marshall’s aid as he tried to recover in front of the Hazelton bench. The crowd audibly cringed at the assault. The action netted Groot an Attempt to Injure penalty, and a match penalty.
That penalty will mean Groot gets either a 10 day or three game suspension. Whichever comes first.
“BC hockey is the enforcement agency and we’ve talked with Mike Fraser, who is the director for Senior Mens hockey for BC Hockey, and that’s the ruling he brought down,” said Steelheads General Manager, Kelly Zacharias. “The ten days doesn’t start right away, it starts when the playoffs start so it would end up that he’ll miss the first playoff game. That’s what BC Hockey explained to us.”
However, this ruling is not sitting well with the Wolverines executive and according to President Jessica Mikolayczyk they will be pursuing BC Hockey to reexamine the ruling and possibly have Groot suspended for more than one playoff game.
“All we’re doing is our due diligence by contacting BC Hockey,” said Mikolayczyk. “Because we want to ensure that the referees report is accurate so that BC Hockey can make a fair assessment as it relates to the suspension that’s going to be given to Groot.”
Mikolayczyk explained her main concern at this point is the kind of message this ruling will send to players. That if players take vicious liberties on the ice and only miss a game, more of these incidents will occur.
“As of right now [Groot] has been assessed a three game match penalty or ten days. However, we are requesting for that to be reviewed,” Mikolayczyk siad.
Mikolayczyk also doesn’t agree with the report submitted by the referee, stating there was information correct but also left out. Also, that the referee never approached the Wolverines to see if there was in fact an injured player after the hit.
“We need to send a clear message out to the Central Interior Hockey League in regards to what is acceptable and what is unacceptable,” said Mikolayczyk. “And if something unacceptable like that happens, it needs to be dealt with fairly and appropriately or those kinds of things will keep happening.”