Saturday, June 23, 2012

Tougher stance needed

Gold Coast Blue Tongues star import Mike McRae was this week handed a 4 match suspension by the AIHL tribunal, it is a bitter blow for the Tongues as they now forced to reshuffle their lines for this weekends clash's with the Perth Thunder.

McRae will be eligible to return to action for match 54 when they take on the Sydney Bears at Acacia Ice Ridge in Brisbane. Out of the 4 matches which McRae received two of those have been suspended, which means the Tongues will get back their star back a lot earlier than most probably predicted.

The incident in question happened during the second period of play last weekend where the traveling Blue Tongues faced the Melbourne Ice, with Mike McRae getting escorted off the ice & clearly frustrated, he heads towards the bench then turns to throw his stick in what seemed to be directly towards where the referee is slow skating.

In an age where we see many other sports cracking down on aggression towards authority figures, i thought McRae might have got a much lengthier sentence handed to him. As I am somewhat surprised by the decision handed down. 

Surely this type of violence & aggression should not be tolerated?

The four match sentence was one which should have been the minimum given, and one which should been served in full. The incident could have resulted in a serious injury to a referee, or another player on the ice for that matter.

It was a time where the AIHL needed to flex their muscle, they needed show every club within the competition that instances like this will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

I feel as a hockey supporter myself, that the decision to suspend two of the games handed down by the tribunal was one which didn't need to be made. I am disappointed that this has been done, as i now wonder what message we send to the public & young hockey players coming through the junior ranks.

Any contact with a referee is a no go zone for any athlete, whether it be equipment, physically or verbally it's something which isn't acceptable.

Surely under the Code of Conduct laws 6.6 & 6.7 the actions of McRae have brought the game of ice hockey into disrepute? I firmly believe the incident should have carried a much heavier suspension tag.

Even claiming that the incident was an accidental collision is also up for debate, as the video evidence in my mind shows a totally different description of events.

A link to the footage of the incident can be seen on the YourMelbourneIce youtube channel, for the impatient fast forward to 1:57.

So i ask, was the correct suspension handed down? You decide.

While the incident involving Mike McRae was the more high profile of the weekend, two other sentences were handed down by the tribunal.

Both Dylan Moore (Melbourne Ice) & Shannon McGregor (Sydney Ice Dogs) have been suspended for 2 games each under Rule 528(b), having both been found to initiate a fight on the ice.

That wrapped up the tribunal hearings this week.

By Andrew Macdougall

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