Saturday, 30 December 2017

36 In Your Program

You're always told as a player that you're playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not the name on the back. It seems that Finnish defenceman Kasper Kotkansalo is taking that to a whole new level by donning a jersey without his name! Before anyone goes overboard with conspiracy theories or secret player ideas, Kotkansalo has a perfectly valid reason for playing nameless: his blood.

Earlier in the game, Kotkansalo sprung a leak that caused his jersey to become stained with blood. As per IIHF Rule 40, subsection xii,
The only exception to Rule 40-xi [Teebz: 40-xi states a player cannot change sweater numbers once the game is started] is if a player's sweater becomes stained with blood or becomes badly torn during game. At that point, he may be told by an on-ice official to leave the ice and change into a designated sweater with another number and no nameplate.
Kotkansalo has been wearing #36 at this tournament, but the officials made him change to another number sans nameplate after they invoked the blood rule due to his jersey showing more red than normal. Kotkansalo finished the game against the Slovaks wearing #24.

He didn't factor into the scoring, but Kotkansalo's play should be noted. The Red Wings' draft pick pulled the puck off the goal line in the first period to keep the game scoreless, and then rang a laser of a shot off the goal post at the other end of the ice. He did that while wearing #36, so it seems he should try and get that jersey cleaned as soon as possible.

If you were wondering, Finland did hold on to down Slovakia by a 5-2 score. The Slovaks now need to defeat Denmark tomorrow to avoid relegation while Finland sits in second-place in their pool between Canada and the US for the time being with an all-important date with the Americans looming tomorrow evening. The medal round match-ups will be determined tomorrow, so tune in to your local World Junior Championship network!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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