Bettman rejects Sabres forward Kaleta's appeal

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta's 10-game suspension....

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld Buffalo Sabres forward Patrick Kaleta's 10-game suspension. (QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 3:26 PM ET

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman rejected Patrick Kaleta’s appeal for a reduced suspension Thursday.

The 17-page ruling issued by Bettman, who heard Kaleta’s appeal Oct. 15 in New York, confirmed the Buffalo Sabres forward must serve his entire 10-game ban. The ruling came after Kaleta appealed the 10-game suspension handed down by league disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan for an illegal hit to the head of Columbus Blue Jackets defenceman Jack Johnson Oct. 10.

“I do not credit Mr. Kaleta’s testimony that he ‘tried ducking out of the check,’ ” Bettman’s ruling said. “To the contrary, the video evidence demonstrates that Mr. Kaleta followed through on the check and made no attempt to avoid it. The 10-game suspension of Patrick Kaleta was supported by clear and convincing evidence and is therefore affirmed.

“I find that there is clear and convincing evidence to support Mr. Shanahan’s conclusion that the contact to Mr. Johnson’s head was avoidable and, in fact, should have been avoided.”

Kaleta was not penalized for the hit on Johnson but Shanahan found enough evidence to support the 10-game ban, which Bettman agreed with in his ruling. He also pointed out that Kaleta was a repeat offender in the league’s eyes.

“My conclusion is based both on the nature of the violation and, even more significantly, on Mr. Kaleta’s prior disciplinary record,” Bettman said.

Kaleta will lose $152,439 in pay during the suspension.


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