Comment: Fretter Ban Inadequate

I have always liked the DOPS videos. I have thought they were good at explaining the decision and whilst you might not agree with it you can at least understand where that decision comes from. The Fretter incident however baffles me.

I do not agree with the events that lead up to it. Spiro Goulakos hit on Fretter was reckless and from behind. It should have been called a penalty and was missed. But Fretter’s actions were more reckless, dangerous and targeted yet received only a single game ban.

Fretter charged, left his feet, made contact with the head, it was from behind and was a cross check. If it had not been retaliation we would have been asking for book to thrown at him and talking of bans in terms of months not games. However just because it was a retaliation it doesn’t justify the action.

You can talk about the referee and how he not calling the original penalty led to the circumstances and you would be right. But that still doesn’t make it right for another player to potentially seriously injury another.

I have mentioned it before and I still think it is true. Too often we punish players based on the injury sustained and not the action that led to the injury. This has led to dangerous plays gaining lighter punishments because a player was not injured.

I do not want to see any player being injured whether that is by accident, carelessness and most certainly not retaliation. This week 24 year old Guildford Flames player David Lilliestrom Karlsson announced his retirement due to concussion. A sign that as a sport we can not be complacent in making a physical sport safer. The DOPS have failed to have this at the forefront of their minds as a 1 game ban does not send that message.

Given other bans handed out this week including a 1 game ban to Brett Ferguson for checking from behind. Would 10 games have been reasonable? I know I would have been happier with that.

Neil Tucker

Neil has written on ice hockey for many websites concentrating on British ice hockey mostly. Neil also covers ice hockey in other countries and organises his Blueliner Hockey Tour. A graduate of the Manchester Metropolitan University Neil turned his hand to hockey writing in 2009. As well as contributing on Blueliner Hockey Neil has contributed to Get Real Hockey and Slapshot Magasine.

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