Wednesday, 8 July 2020

Bad Boys

There won't be any appearances by either Will Smith or Martin Lawrence in this article, but I can understand why you might think that from the title. Instead, if I were to ask you which country would be the most unlikely to start a skirmish in international hockey, my guess is that Switzerland - neutral in almost every other international conflict - wouldn't make your top-three for countries named. However, it seems that a couple of Swiss lads were none too happy with the Finnish team they were playing at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games, and they now find themselves in a little bit of hot water with the IIHF over what went down at the conclusion of the Switzerland-Finland game at this year's Winter Youth Olympic Games.

After Finland had defeated Switzerland in the final preliminary game, Swiss players Rodwin Dionicio and Noah Greuter decided to unload some frustration on the Finns through fisticuffs which, as you know, is a big no-no in IIHF international events and definitely illegal when it comes to Olympic hockey play. Fighting after the game has ended? Even worse.

According to this statement from the IIHF,
"After the loss in the last preliminary-round game against Finland, both Dionicio and Greuter had altercations with opposing players and violated Rule 141 (fighting). In the case of Dionicio he also head-butted his opponent (Rule 142) while Greuter instigated a fight despite the linesman trying to break up the pushing and shoving.

"The incidents happened after the final buzzer but before the players left the ice."
There's a lot of wrong committed by Dionicio and Greuter in that statement, and the IIHF was forced to determine a punishment suitable for their on-ice misdeeds. As the statement reads, "[t]he Deciding Panel considers a suspension according to Rule 110 ii. for one game as adequate and sufficient in both cases."

With both players being far too old for the next Winter Youth Olympiad, the IIHF will apply those penalties of one-game suspensions to their next IIHF-sanctioned event which, as per the statement, would be "Switzerland's first game at the next IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship". While I doubt that these one-game suspensions will affect their chances of making Switzerland's U18 team, you have to wonder if they look back on what they did in the Switerland-Finland game and ask themselves, "What were we thinking?"

I'd say that they should use their heads a little more, but Dionicio already threw a head butt at his opponent. Be smarter, lads. This entire ordeal was completely avoidable had you simply shown some maturity beyond your ages.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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