Flyers star Justin Fox hit by five-game ban

Justin Fox, Fife Flyers (Pic:  Steve Gunn)
Justin Fox, Fife Flyers (Pic: Steve Gunn)

Fife Flyers forward Justin Fox has been handed a massive five-game ban by the league’s safety committee.

The Department of Player Safety (DOPS) was asked to review an incident by Dundee Stars from Sunday’s game.

Fox was assessed a two plus two penalty for accidental high sticks after catching a Stars’ player on the face with his stick.

DOPS has now upgraded that to a match penalty which carries an automatic one-game ban.

That ruling cannot be appealed.

But the committee has gone much further, and added an xtra four-match suspension which means Fife will be without their key forward until the middle of next month.

Fox will miss more games than Manchester Storm’s Eric Neilson who sat out only three matches from a nine-game suspension – and one of those was an automatic one-game ban following a match penalty – after he had an astonishing altercation with a fan in Kirkcaldy.

Fox will now miss a batch of vital games in the club’s push for the play-offs.

He is out of this weekend’s trip to Belfast, and Sunday’s tough home game against Sheffield Steelers.

He is also out of the Edinburgh matches, home and away on March 4 and 12, and won’t figure in the game at Braehead on March 18.

Flyers have the right to appeal the supplementary disciplinary action.

The punishment will certainly anger the Fife coaching staff who have already clashed with DOPS this season – and the severity of the ban has already been criticised by fans on social media.

DOPS statement gave little detailed explanation for the increased punishment.

It confirmed the request for a review had come from Stars, and that following a review of the incident, using the video footage and the referee’s report, it had upgraded the penalty to a Match penalty for High-Sticking under IIHF Rule 143.

DOPS simply said it ‘‘has increased this (the automatic one match ban) by a further four games.