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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

The suspension was not a fair one. He should've been suspended "for life'. Goons like that, do not belong is any kind of sports. I watched the "assault", over and over and over and he had all intentions of hurting the other player...Shame on him. I hope he "never" plays again!
Eduardo Echeverria, 2009-11-04 20:47:30

The reason hockey has a "finishing your check" rule as compared to footballs you can't hit once the QB releases the ball is because it is just about impossible to stop when going at that high rate of speed once a player gets rid of the puck.

Players need to protect themselves at all times on the ice.

The new rules, the poor wearing of helmet, and the 21 vs. 16 year old all lead to something like this and branch is making a scapegoat out of a young man that was playing hard and DID NOTHING DIRTY.

These stick swingers and cross checkers should be tossed before someone who finishes his hit.

At the same time all our thoughts to the Fanelli family. It's just a terrible thing to see this happen.
Jason, 2009-11-04 20:12:22

As far as i am concerned whole issue is gone to far. A couple game suspension I can see but as you know this way of playing is bread into these kids and then when some-thing happens its the players fault . WRONG!!!!. I helped coach pee-Wee hockey in London years ago and thats why I hung it up due to the edging of coaches pushing this kind of play making.It's like a drug addict being given drugs and then he's got to not do this at say so. NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. It's the hockey association that needs to come to bat and not blame some thing that they put out of control when these kids were young and learning the game.That boy needs to be compensated for the future he's going to miss out on due to bad coaching at a younger age.
Dave Quick, 2009-11-04 19:55:53

i agree with most of the comments on here from both sides but Butch come on

" attempt to injure"

i missed liambas hitting fanelli square in the back and driving him into the boards and GOOD? an elbow to the head? did you even see the hit? it was a glancing shoulder to shoulder hit that is totally legal. i've seen rinaldo (london) do much worse several times with intent but his penalty never seems to fit the crime with London players. Branch made a horrible decision and now has basically finished another young mans career. i do feel bad for fanelli but you will see 10-12 of these types of hits if not more and harder on a nightly basis. if his helmet stays on i wonder if it lessens the injury and i would guess it would have lessened the penalty against liambas. i understand that you never like to see anyone get hurt but come on branch why would you penalize another young man so drastically for playing within the rules of hockey??
Mark, 2009-11-04 19:51:07

A full season is too harsh, 20 games seems relevant. Is he really dirty, what message does this send?
Douglas, 2009-11-04 19:38:35

Seems a little harsh. Wasn't from behind or anything. Just finishing his check in my opinion
Kyle, 2009-11-04 19:10:24

If this is the start of a new era in junior hockey then it wasn't too harsh.I think this decision was made to clean up the image and record of junior hockey.It seems to be the new concensus.
Johnson, 2009-11-04 18:40:35

Liambas can be clearly seen getting up a good head of steam to take a run at Fanelli; no doubt that was boarding and some may have called it an attempt to injure. Finishing his check? Bull crap. Branch was correct to give Liambas the old heave-ho. And as for those who would place some of the blame on Fanelli? Idiots. I agree with Melman33: Once a player no longer has possession of the puck, a penalty should be assessed if an opponent then checks him. One of these days a player is going to be killed by a check such as the one Liambas laid on Fanelli, and all the apologists and naysayers will be scurrying for cover like scared rats.
Butch, 2009-11-04 18:35:16

these young fellows dont know how to play hockey any more .why do you have to cripple some one to win the game . why cant you pass the puck better or get off the ice. it is not hockey any more. more people should be kiced off ice for this kind of conduct.in early years of hockey , you never heard of this kind of violence. why not just give them a club when they start. cave man hockey. people love to see blood.attack from behind, big hero.
v jarvis, 2009-11-04 18:22:27

I'm OK with the suspension. Liambas does not have a clean record. See the lovely hit he delivered to Tavares' back last year. The force distribution ended up in Fanelli's head - right where he planned it. It was boarding so in fact not a clean hit. If the chip strap was tight I'm pretty sure the helmet still pops off folks. Hard to make a back pass without turning your body so how do you fault Ben for that? That was more than finishing a check it was driving a players upper body and head into the glass. I have boys who play hockey and hits like these scare the crap out of me. Hockey is fast and can and will be deadly until the checks above the shoulder or along the boards that drive players into the boards are eliminated. You can't deliver hits to the head period in football. Why is it rationalized in hockey? The hockey fans that call that a clean hit and part of the game need to put themselves in Fanelli's shoes - that will quiet them down, hard to talk when you can't breathe on your own. If these fans/experts play hockey 99.9% of them are in a non-checking league so never find themselves in this position. I don't want to see boys or men comatose on the ice anymore. Clearly we need rules where this clearly is not a clean check and is not encouraged.
Arby, 2009-11-04 18:17:08

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