November 21, 2017

The League Management Committee (LMC) of the NIHL has issued a strongly worded circular to clubs outlining the discipline policy for so-called ‘blindside’ hits to the head.

Such offences have appeared all too frequently in NIHL over the past 18 months and league chiefs have confirmed the minimum tarriff for such hits and stronger penalties for any repeat offenders.

The circular, signed on the LMC’s behalf by Richard Carpenter and Gary Dent, the respective League Managers for NIHL South and North, states: “Any forceful blow to the head where a player has no opportunity to see it coming or defend themselves from it will incur a minimum suspension of six games.

“This includes punches, checks, elbows, crosschecks or any other form of attack to the head and/or neck area. It includes attacks from behind, “sucker punches”, and anything else where the victim of the attack could be deemed to be unable to defend themselves against, or mitigate the impact of, the attack.

“In addition to the above, any player who has already been assessed a suspension under the above interpretations, comes back and incurs a further suspension under the same criteria can expect, as a minimum, to be assessed a six game suspension and an additional 10 disciplinary points. This means a minimum suspension of 11 games including five games on points accumulation.

“That will be the minimum sanction but they will also face the possibility of being assessed an indefinite suspension with a review date set for a point at which they can apply to return to playing.

“We all have a duty of care to those playing the game and we cannot allow players who appear to be unable to control themselves, or are willing to commit such offences, continue to endanger others.”

The circular also confirms that the EIHA will be conducting a review of the Disciplinary rules and interpretations with particular regards to serious incidents of foul play in the summer.

A copy of the document is available in the Downloads section of the EIHA website.