A minor-pro Swedish player has been given a two-year suspension – which extends throughout all sports in the country – because a brutal cross-check.
Viktor Thomasson, 23, a defenseman for the Nacka HK in Sweden’s second division, was banned Friday by the Swedish Ice Hockey Federation for bolting towards a defenseless opponent and hitting him with his stick.
The suspension is the maximum allowed under the rules of the federation, which found the act to be of “extreme violence.”
“He (Viktor) is very remorseful,” Nacka coach Hakan Ferm told Tomas Ros from Aftonbladet. “He has a special style of play and it happens sometimes that it crosses the line. But he is very remorseful that he might have damaged a player, but partly because he destroyed for our team as well.”
The incident in question happened during a game earlier this month between Nacka HK and Balsta HC. Thomasson’s brother, Daniel, collided at the blueline with Balsta’s Tommy Latouche-Gauvin – a point-per-game forward and former Junior A player from Quebec City – causing Daniel to tumble to the ice. Thomasson was less than thrilled. He skated at full speed from his own blueline to meet Latouche-Gauvin, who was still on his knees, with a diving cross-check to the neck.
Thomasson received a match penalty on the play, while Latouche-Gauvin reportedly wasn’t badly hurt. Nacka HK could appeal the verdict.
“I think it’s pretty damn hard,” Nacka president Leif Halvorsen told Ros. “It strikes the legs away from the man totally. What should he keep doing? We are all aware that it was lucky that it went well with Tommy. It could have gone incredibly bad. But a man is supposed to be able to move on.”
Latouche-Gauvin and Balsta, meanwhile, are said to be pleased with the ruling.
“It was important that it feels right for Tommy,” sports director Robert Kimby told Ros. “He feels good now and it is most important to me. Everyone involved has done a good job and now we want to put it behind us.”