Two days after Sunday’s incident between Elmira Enforcers owner Robbie Nichols and a game official, the punishment from the incident was handed down by the Federal Hockey League.
The Enforcers, aka Nichols, were issued a fine of $25,000 for the incident, the maximum number allowed under FHL bylaws according to Carolina Broadcaster Zak DeBeaussaert.
Nichols was not issued a suspension for the incident.
In addition to the fine, the Enforcers also had five players and head coach Brent Clarke all receive suspensions for their actions earlier in the game, when the five players left the bench during the first period.
The five players are: Nick Niedert, Sean Reynolds, Nathan Pelligra, Stepan Timofeyev, and Gavin Yates, who all received three games for their actions.
Coach Clarke has been suspended indefinitely until further review. The suspensions to Clarke and the five players are automatic based on FHL rules for leaving the bench.
Truthfully, $25k was the number I (Ron) had in mind had I been issuing the punishment for this incident, especially after seeing the video above where it pretty clearly shows that this whole thing was Nichols’ fault. You absolutely cannot put your hands on an official, no matter how upset you are by what you perceive to be a bad call.
That said, I still feel Nichols deserved some sort of suspension for this as well, but as I noted in my reaction to the incident piece, Nichols basically owns and operates the arena, and put his own money into the arena as well, so I don’t know how you would have enforced it to keep him out of his own property. But still, maybe something where he can’t go near ice level or isn’t allowed to go on road trips, just something else, because how are the refs going to know for sure that this sort of thing isn’t going to happen again?
And who knows, maybe the team will be docked in other ways, like points in the standings or something, but I don’t think that would be entirely fair either.
So to sum up, I think the dollar amount is a more than just punishment, but I would have liked to have seen some additional sanctions against Nichols for what he did, but I also get why that may not have been possible.