Fines & suspensions after player and fan clash

The incident involving Manchester Storm player Eric Neilson and a Fife Flyers fan. Pic: Steve Gunn
The incident involving Manchester Storm player Eric Neilson and a Fife Flyers fan. Pic: Steve Gunn

Ice hockey’s disciplinary bosses have issues suspensions and fines following their probe into the off-ice incident between a player and fan in Kirkcaldy last week.

The flashpoint sparked national headlines and huge debate online.

Fife has been ordered to install plexi behind the away team bench

Fife has been ordered to install plexi behind the away team bench

Manchester Storm player, Eric Neilson, has been hit with a three game ban – with a further six-game suspended sentence after confronting a fan.

His club has been fined £5000 for failing to control its players.

And Fife Flyers have been fined £5000 for failing to control its fans, and ordered to increase security at the away bench on match nights.

The Kirkcaldy club has also been ordered to install plexi glass behind the away bench for the start of next season.

The decisions from the Department Of Player Safety (DOPS) were announced this morning after a week-long probe into the ugly scenes which marred Flyers’ victory over Storm in front of almost 2000 fans.

The supporter involved in the flashpoint was ejected – only to return later to claim the jackpot after he won the 50-50 prize draw.

DOPS said it carried out ‘‘a full investigation’’ and studied footage from two angles which captured the ugly scenes as Neilson challenged a fan behind the team bench.

There were claims he squirted water from a bottle into the crowd, and a fan retaliated by pouring beer over the player before being ejected.

Storm’s coach, Omar Pacha, said his team had been abused all evening, and he claim close to pulling them from the game.

Neilson’s actions earned him a match penalty, and an automatic one-game ban.

DOPS has increased this to three, so he will be suspended for this weekend’s two games.

Neilson also faces a further six-game suspended sentence which will be triggered if he is involved in a similar incident during the remainder of this season AND the whole of the 2017-18 campaign.

The financial penalties placed on both clubs were also suspended pending no further incidents during remaining games this or next season.

Flyers and Storm were both warned about their future conduct.

The league says it ‘‘also requires’’ Fife to increase security around the away bench ‘‘to remove the possibility of an incident similar to this happening again.’’

And it instructed the club to install plexi glass behind the bench to create a clear barrier between the players and fans who sit directly above them.

That work is expected to be done for the start of next season.