Fife Flyers have lodged an appeal against the five-game ban on Justin Fox.
The key forward was hit by the hefty suspension by the Department of Player Safety following a request from Dundee Stars to review a stick incident in Sunday’s game.
Stars’ coach Marc Lefebvre described Fox’s stickwork as ‘‘dangerous’’ and ‘‘very reckless’’ and said he was guilty of ‘‘a total lack of respect’’ to his opponent.
The ban is one of the biggest handed out by DOPS this season – topped only by Braehead Clan’s Corey Cowick who sat out six games for physically confronting the officials in a game in Manchester.
Eric Neilson, Manchester Storm’s forward, got a nine-game ban for confronting a fan in Kirkcaldy, but six were suspended, and one was automatically attached to the match penalty, leaving a supplementary two-game suspension.
And it is the additional sanction – which would keep Fox off the ice until mid-March – that has angered the club.
Tonight, it confirmed an appeal had been lodged.
Fox’s minor penalty for accidental high sticks was upgraded to a match penalty which carries an automatic one game ban that cannot be appealed.
But the club CAN challenge the supplementary punishment.
Flyers have asked for a clarification of the suspension and why it merited four games.
The incident came late in the game at Dundee, and the video footage clearly shows Fox catching defenceman Craig Cescon on the side of his head, leaving him with an eye injury.
The actions of the Fife player were condemned by Stars coach, Marc Lefebvre who branded his stick work ‘’dangerous’’ and ‘’reckless.’’
Interviewed for the club’s podcast, Lefebvre refuted suggestions Fox had been trying to ‘lift’ Cescon’s stick - and charged him with showing ‘’a total lack of respect’’ for his opponent.
Lefebvre’s strong words were broadcast online just before DOPS came to its decision, but underlined his clear anger over the injury sustained by his key defenceman.
‘’I wouldn’t give the guy (Fox) the benefit of the doubt he was trying to play the puck or lift the stick,’’ he said.
‘’From every angle we have on it, every slow-mo we have zoomed in, there is no intention to play the puck or the player’s stick.
‘’It was directed to his face, unfortunately went directly in his eye – a very reckless and dangerous play.’’
Lefbevre said the injury ‘’could be life altering’’ for Cescon, although he said there had been good news on the injury in recent days without going into details.
Of the play, he said it ‘’was a total lack of respect for your opposing player.’’
He added: ‘’Having a stick in your hand is like having a loaded gun. You have to be in control of it at all times.
DOPS has also clarified the games Fox will miss through suspension.
He is out of this weekend’s trip to Belfast and Sunday’s home game against Sheffield Steelers.
Fox also misses games against Edinburgh Capitals on March 4 and 12, plus a road trip to Coventry on the 11th.
>> You can hear Marc Lefebvre’s podcast here: Dundee Stars podcast