Bad-boy Liambas in trouble again
|Former Erie Otters forward Michael Liambas, best known for being suspended by the OHL for most of the 2009-10 season after a brutal check on Kitchener Rangers defenceman Ben Fanelli, faces another huge suspension for his actions in a Canadian university game Friday. (QMI Agency file photo)
Former junior hockey bad-boy Michael Liambas is in hot water again.
Liambas, who was suspended for most of his final junior season with the Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League in 2009, was given an automatic two-game ban and is facing a much longer suspension for his actions in a Canadian university game Friday night in Vancouver.
Playing for the British Columbia Thunderbirds, Liambas was given an instigator minor, fighting major and game misconduct for going after Alberta Golden Bears forward Eric Hunter early in the second period.
Hunter, who was not penalized on the play, was left with concussion-like symptoms and cuts to his face when he was punched and driven to the ice.
Liambas was given an automatic two-game suspension, which will carry over to next season, but faces a longer ban after the incident is investigated by Canada West convenor Bill Seymour.
UBC coach Milan Dragicevic defended his player, despite his history of questionable behaviour on the ice.
"We don't condone what Mike Liambas did to Eric Hunter," Dragicevic told the Vancouver Sun, adding that Liambas had been speared by Hunter before retaliating. -It's not the first time a player has retaliated and gotten suspended for it. It happens. Right or wrong, quick decisions are made on the ice and sometimes they are not the right decisions.
"That's an action on the ice that nobody is going to condone. However, as a person, Mike Liambas is someone who has character, grit, leadership qualities, volunteers in the community and does a lot of outside activities that don't necessarily get recognized."
Liambas was given what amounted to a lifetime ban for an incident in October 2009 that left rookie defenceman Ben Fanelli of the Kitchener Rangers with a fractured skull and questionable hockey future.
The OHL suspended Liambas for the remainder of the 2009-10 season after he drilled Fanelli into the end boards with a blindside hit. Fanelli nearly died as a result and still has not received clearance to play, although he is practicing with the Rangers.
In 25 games with the Thunderbirds this season, Liambas had three goals and six assists to go along with 82 penalty minutes.