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Was the OHL's suspension of Liambas too harsh?
Wed, November 4, 2009

STEVE SIMMONS, SUN MEDIA

The junior hockey career of Michael Liambas is over.

The Ontario Hockey League came down hard on the Erie Otters forward, suspending him for the entire season and the playoffs.

The decision came after the boarding incident last Friday night in Kitchener in which 16-year-old Ben Fanelli was seriously injured.

Fanelli remains in a Hamilton hospital, after suffering a fractured skull, a broken orbital bone and other related injuries.

What is your opinion of the suspension? Was it the right call? Have your say in our forum.

Liambas banned following hit

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62 Comments

It really does not matter how the hit happened and since Todd Bertuzzi's incident the Hockey World has decided to at least outwardly say this behavior is no longer acceptible. It was okay before however and it's up to hockey to define this once and for all that either a hit like this is acceptable or not. You cannot have a (level and circumstances) for this type of hit as it is impossible to determine so its not fair to either the player or victim.

Its either acceptable or not plain and simple.
John, 2009-11-05 13:32:09

a talentless overage thug is finally gone..he will have to find his 16 year old children to brutalize elsewhere..good riddance
dave, 2009-11-05 13:30:04

How can you lead with a shoulder and finish with an elbow. If your shoulder is leading then it's a clean hit, if it comes up after you hit him and not the leading part of your body then no intent to injure. Most of you I'll take it have not played at a high level of hockey, therfore you should have no opinion, I have. Alot of people get hurt playing hockey and it's unfortuneate that this guy did get hurt but just because a bunch of bleeding hearts want hockey to become ringette doesn't mean a player should be suspended the entire year. Bad call on the entire year.
A Paterson, 2009-11-05 12:31:23

I did see the replay, and cannot determine if it was an elbow, or if Liambas left his feet.

I did, however, see the run that Liambas took from the side board and cannot agree that the hit was clean based on that alone. In my mind, if the hit was shoulder on shoulder, it was still attempt to injure, therefore, I agree with the penalty.

I would like to see a standard suspension for all incidents of this nature, where if it is to be 5 games, then the player sits out until the victim returns to play, plus the 5 game suspension. Sadly, in this case, the result would most likely be the same.

I only hope for Faneli recovers.
am, 2009-11-05 12:24:47

It is difficult to look at this hit objectively. Liambas' elbow appears high, but similar infractions occur every game withhout the same consequences. Fanelli turned at the last second to make the pass he wanted to make, his helmet came off, perhaps not strapped on properly. Does this suspension set a precident? If so you would have to end hockey careers with suspensions all the time as this type of hit is not out of the ordinary. Mr Branch is in a tough position, but it appears to me he punished the result not the infraction and this is not right. I wonder if a player more highly regarded or perhaps already drafted making the same hit would receive the same suspension? Let's hope above all else that Fanelli recovers fully.
SteveA, 2009-11-05 11:59:38

This was a clear case of "intent to injure"

Good call from the league !

People have a hard time differenciating between "contact" and "intent". You have to eliminate the latter before it's too late

Two careers ruined !


L B, 2009-11-05 11:00:35

If you see the replay where it's from the camera behind the glass the hit was effectively delivered with the ELBOW not the shoulder. He leads with a shoulder and finishes with the ELBOW. It was a dirty hit. After Fanelli's head squirts out from where it has been pinched into the stantion it shows Liambas' ELBOW on the glass where Fanelli's head was. The 20 something wannabe pro's who believe this was a clean hit do not want to be objective about the incident.
RB, 2009-11-05 07:27:57

I cannot believe that some think this was a clean hit when both feet came off the ice and elbows were high. Take a good look at the way this player performs a hit on every player he has played against, it is clear that he has not been taught properly or chooses to hit in this manner. He hit Tavares a few years ago and just about injured him as well. We need to start protecting talented players so we can continue viewing the skill that they have. If Fanelli never fully recovers was the suspension harsh enough? Fanelli may have to sit out and watch a game he loves forever due to a split second decision by another mans rage.
Ernie, 2009-11-05 03:38:24

I am a many year season ticket holder. I was at the game and that hit was by far the most vile and calculated attack that I have ever seen in a game. The hit didnt sound loud, it sounded more like someone hitting someone else in the head with a sledgehammer. Therefore it looked horrible and sounded sick. I questioned myself as they were scraping the 2 inch thick blood puddle off the ice, "is it worth it watching this game that I have loved for years if there are players out there who's sole purpose is to badly injure other players.

To say that this was finishing a check is like saying that Steve Downie was finishing his check on Dean McAmmond of Ottawa. Most agree it was dirty - how was this hit any less dirty.

So I think the time of the suspension fits the crime. Fanelli is unlikely going to be coming back (at least this year) because of this terrible action. Does 5 games cut it - I think not! In the NHL it would be 20-25, wiith the player expected to come back afterwards. In my view, given how disguisting that game was 20-25 deserves to be the minimum suspension but since he will just come back and do it again - he may as well be sent home packing.
Paul, 2009-11-04 21:05:29

Speaking from a player who has played at all levels of hockey through 30+ years I am more concerned with the fact that the players are not protecting themselves anymore....Its an art of self preservation and they better figure it out...the game is only going to get faster and bigger...
darren, 2009-11-04 20:50:03

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