The KHL has handed a lifetime ban to Barys Astana’s Damir Ryspayev after the 21-year-old attacked three players during an absurd pre-season brawl against Red Star Kunlun.
Ryspayev’s monumental suspension comes after the league reviewed the incident, which involved him suckerpunching Red Star center Tomas Marcinko — a punch that saw Marcinko stretchered off the ice — and then skating directly at and jumping two other Kunlun players, one of which Ryspayev actually attacked twice during the brawl. After he had roughed up unwilling combatants from Red Star, Ryspayev attacked the Kunlun player bench before finally being wrangled and taken to the penalty box.
The KHL acted quickly by suspending Ryspayev for the entire pre-season, but continued to review the play even after the initial ban.
“It goes without saying that hockey is a contact sport,” said Gennady Timchenko, chairman of the KHL’s board of directors. “But above all, it is a fair contest in which rival players are guided by the rules of the game and spirit of sporting ethics. The league acts as a guarantor of these rules and laws, and cannot allow them to be systematically and grotesquely violated. It is utterly unacceptable to intentionally endanger the safety and fitness of opposing players. Every player’s professionalism is demonstrated by the ability to play a hard, uncompromising game while maintaining full respect for fellow sportsmen and their fans.”
KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko also weighed in on the suspension, saying Ryspayev’s actions had an impact beyond what he did on ice and that he “blacken(ed) the image of the league.”
“In hockey, as in any other professional sport, the can be no place for the outright violence displayed by Barys defenseman Damir Ryspayev in the game against KHL newcomer Kunlun Red Star,” Chernyshenko said.
Beyond his actions reflecting poorly on the league, Ryspayev may have also landed Barys in hot water. The KHL, in their statement regarding the suspension, made sure to point out that no one from the team, including coaches and training staff, tried to stop Ryspayev.
Ryspayev’s fate is almost certainly sealed, too. The KHL said the decision of the league cannot be appealed through court, and Ryspayev’s only course of action now would be to ask the league’s disciplinary committee to review the play and statements from Ryspayev regarding the incident.
If this is the end of Ryspayev’s career in the KHL — and it appears he is indeed done in the league barring a change of heart by the league — he will finish his career having played 23 games in the league and racking up 194 penalty minutes. He failed to register a single point.
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