ZURICH – The IIHF Disciplinary Board has issued a two-game suspension to Russian defenceman Ziat Paigin for a stick-throwing incident that occurred at the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship.
The suspension will go into effect at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.
The incident occurred after the end of the third period of the game. When the game was concluded Paigin was in the Canadian zone as the Canadian players began to celebrate their win. As he returned to join his team, before crossing the blue line and being positioned close to the boards and the glass, Paigin threw his stick with his right arm over the glass into the stands and thus at the spectators.
The player was penalized with a game misconduct for throwing the stick according to Official Playing Rule 165 I.
In a written statement, Paigin explained that he threw his stick to the fans “as a souvenir as a gesture of appreciation” of the Team Russia fans’ support “following an existing tradition”. In addition, he explained that there was no malicious intent aimed to injure fans and the throw of the stick with one hand to the stands was not strong as he just had to throw the stick over the glass.
The Deciding Panel came to the conclusion that the video of the relevant scene shows clearly that the accused player threw his stick over the glass into the stands, thus violating Rule 165 I. This action did not happen as a gesture of appreciation of the fans’ support as the player alleges. There is no sign whatsoever in the player’s gestures or face during and after the action that would allow such an interpretation; the only explanation is that the player acted out of frustration.
The Deciding Panel wants to point out that – at least in international games - there is no “tradition” of throwing sticks into the stands as a gesture of appreciation of the fan’s support and that such a “tradition” could not be tolerated and is not tolerated by the IIHF.
The Deciding Panel is of the opinion that the penalty foreseen in Rule 165 I. is not adequate to the action of the player. Throwing a hockey-stick into the stands is a dangerous action; spectators can be hurt and are hurt. To find the appropriate sanction, the Deciding Panel referred to Rule 168 IV. 3, according to which a player who (only) swings his stick at a spectator will be assessed a match penalty. Throwing a hockey-stick at the spectators in the stands definitely is a more serious violation than just swinging a stick at a spectator without hitting anybody.
Considering the recklessness and danger of throwing a hockey stick and the unsportsmanlike behavior after a lost game, the Deciding Panel is of the opinion that a suspension for two games is adequate to sanction this action.
The Panel therefore has suspended Paigin for the first two games of his team at the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship.