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Suspensions handed out following U-15 hockey incident

Three Juan de Fuca Grizzlies given 12-games suspensions

Three Juan de Fuca ­Grizzlies Under-15 Tier 1 hockey ­players have been suspended for 12 games each following an ­incident in a game Nov. 13. The suspensions are retroactive to that date with seven games each remaining to be served.

The three players were also suspended from all team ­activities, such as practices, until Dec. 15.

A player with the Victoria Admirals was sent to ­Victoria General Hospital after the ­incident, with reported internal bleeding, and will not be able to return to play this season.

None of the players has been identified. The suspended players must also write letters of apology to the injured player and his family.

“There are learning elements to this and educational tools we can use,” said Al ­McCulloch, president of the ­Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey ­Association.

“Our foremost concern is that we want the [injured] player to recover. Our thoughts are with him and we have reached out.”

The Victoria Admirals U-15 Tier 1 team were playing against the Juan de Fuca Grizzlies U-15 Tier 1 team at the Comox ­Valley Sports Centre in Courtenay last month when the incident occurred. It happened after a face-off at centre ice with 1.3 seconds remaining in the bronze-medal game of a tournament, which was won 4-1 by the Admirals. The Times Colonist was sent a video clip of an Admirals centre under a pile-up of Juan de Fuca players immediately after the face-off.

“This is not a part of the game. We want to make sure ugly incidents don’t happen but we can’t say they won’t,” said McCulloch.

“We want to get better every game and every season. These are the future leader of our communities. We want them to learn and be better.”

Nicki Reich, president of the Victoria Admirals Minor Hockey Association, said suspensions of this length are usually for racial slurs or harassment and that she has not seen a suspension like this for an on-ice infraction.

“Twelve games are big suspensions for on-ice infractions. The most we see are in the one to three games range, and I’ve seen one of five games,” said Reich.

The disciplinary ­committees of B.C. Hockey and the ­Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association both investigated the incident and came to a joint conclusion regarding the suspensions.

cdheensaw@timescolonist.com