DOPS shake-up as flashpoint bans are reviewed

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EIHL logo

The EIHL has removed Simon Kirkham as head of DOPS after an independent review into its decisions on a major flashpoint.

Former NHL linesman, Lyle Seitz, and members of the Player Safety Committee (PSC), a global body established for overseeing player safety and discipline for a number of leagues throughout the hockey world, will now work with the EIHL reviewing any incidents until the leagues hosts an emergency meeting on November 8 to discuss DOPS and refereeing.

Following the flashpoint, which made headlines around the globe, DOPS’ one game ban handed to Sheffield Steelers’ Colton Fretter has been increased to six.

And the three-game suspension slapped on Belfast Giants’ Spiro Goulakos has been cut from three to two. The 5+Game penalty for checking from behind was removed from his record.

The changes follow an unprecedented decision to review the flashpoint which saw Fetter level Goulakos in centre ice after he was checked on the boards.

The EIHL asked Seitz and members of the PSC to look again at the footage and the decisions.

Their review ruled that Goulakos hit on Fretter on the boards – the catalyst for the retaliation – was a legal body check.

The report stated: ‘‘No injury, no real force, not excessive, which eliminates any and all possible factors to be worthy of a 5+game misconduct.‘‘

It was, it said, simply a bodycheck.

The review team deemed Fretter’s retaliation to be ‘‘serious in nature’’ deeming it ‘‘a wilful negligence act of intent to cause injury, intending to affect the game by making illegal and/or unsuspecting contact.’’

On Goulakos kick at Fretter, it said it was not intentional but rather in self defence, but held the player responsible for his actions and his use of his skates as dangerous.

It was ‘‘more a push off rather than a kick’’ and noted he may have been concussed at the time of the original incident.

The EIHL have removed Simon Kirkham as Head of the Department of Player Safety with immediate effect.