An ice hockey player who tried to climb into the penalty box to attack Fife Flyers’ Danny Stewart has been handed a four-game ban.
Devin Didiomete of the Manchester Storm learned of his punishment in a ruling from the Elite League’s Department of Player Safety.
But Stewart will face NO further action after Storm withdrew claims that he bit their player.
The Flyers’ assistant coach was furious at the suggestion, branding it ‘‘false’’ and ‘‘disgusting’’ in a strongly worded interview with the Fife Free Press this week.
The flashpoint came early in Sunday’s game in Altrincham, which Fife lost 5-1.
On a Fife powerplay, the duo came together again amid a melee around Storm’s net.
Video footage of the game showed Stewart skating to the right of the goal as the puck was frozen with Didiomete behind him in the defensive zone.
The Manchester winger moves in and jabs Stewart on the hip with his stick and then follows up with a glove and an elbow to the head as he drives the Fifer into the plexi behind the net.
The duo fall to the ice as other players get tangled up before being put into their respective sin bins.
When Didiometi is thrown out he gestures to the Fife fans as he leaves the ice but walks past the door to Storm’s dressing-room, clearly looking at Stewart in the sin bin.
He moves along the corridor which runs behind it, Stewart turns round and words are exchanged.
When the Flyer hammers the plexi in anger, Didiometi clambers up and throws a punch over the top before being hustled away and into the dressing room.
After reviewing the footage, DOPS changed his original match penalty for checking to the head to a match penalty for fighting.
This carries an automatic one-game ban, but DOPS added an extra game to make a total of two matches - the extra game can be appealed.
He was also assessed a match penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct for his off-ice antics which saw him try to climb into the sin bin.
This too carries an automatic one-game ban which DOPS have doubled with an extra game - again this can be appealed.
As a result, the controversial winger - whose career has seen him ping-pong around the minor leagues - has been banned for four matches and that includes the return game in Fife on Saturday January 9.
Speaking in this week’s Fife Free Press, Stewart was outraged at the biting claims, which first surfaced on social media after Sunday’s game and were formally put into the public domain when Storm’s website stated the club had provided photographic evidence to back up the allegation.
Stewart said: “I was just standing in front of their net minding my own business not doing anything when I’ve just been attacked.
“I’ve had my head rammed against the glass, and at that point the gloves have come off and there’s been a bit of scrapping on the ice. After that I thought it was done with - but he’s then walked over to the penalty box and threatened me. I’ve reacted by punching the glass then he’s reached over the top and hit me.
“To then find out I’m being reviewed is shocking to say the least. It’s a disgusting and very false accusation. I hope the league finds reason and comes up with a good solution to the issue. It’s caught me completely off guard.”
’’ As far as the accusations go I’m really offended. It’s disgusting to make false accusations to justify your actions.”