The Ice Hockey Elite League disciplinary committee has announced their findings regarding incidents during and after Cardiff Devils’ game against Coventry Blaze in the Challenge Cup on Sunday 28th October 2012 and have cleared Blaze player Ben Olson after he was confronted by a 'fan'.
The findings are as follows:
"Cardiff forward Max Birbraer was assessed a match penalty for cross-checking to the head at 52:26. This offence carries an automatic five-match ban and this penalty has been upheld.
Birbraer was also assessed a match penalty for leaving the dressing room to join an altercation after already being thrown out of the game. This carries an automatic three-match ban under Elite League rules and not a one-match ban as stated previously. Birbraer will therefore be banned for a total of eight matches.
Devils forward Devin Didiomete also returned to join the altercation after being escorted off the playing surface and he will also serve a three-match ban.
All the above penalties have not been increased from their original tariffs and so cannot be appealed against.
Devils bench coach Neil Francis was assessed a match penalty (travesty of the game) following his role in the incident. The discipline committee has added four matches to make a total of a five-match ban. The extra four matches may be appealed against.
Coventry defenceman Benn Olson was assessed a match penalty for an incident with a spectator when leaving the ice. This penalty has been removed from his records and no further action will be taken.
Both coaches, Gerad Adams (Cardiff) and Paul Thompson (Coventry), have been warned about their side’s future conduct. Any repeat offences will see further punishment handed out by the disciplinary committee.
Head of discipline, Simon Kirkham, said: “The strict procedure was followed to come to these conclusions and we reviewed the reports from the on-ice officials and slow-motion replays of the incidents.
“Max Birbraer cross-checked Benn Olson to the head during the game. This is a very dangerous incident and with it comes a lengthy penalty.
“There were a number of unsavory incidents after the final hooter and two Cardiff players returned to join in the altercation and so receive bans for this.
“Due to the actions of Neil Francis during the incident, we believe it is worthy of further punishment, so have increased his ban.
“We have reviewed the incident with Benn Olson and the supporter when leaving the ice and it shows Olson acted in self-defence, so have wiped this penalty from his records.
“The area where the fan confronted Olson is out of bounds to the public and the supporter had no right to be there.
“Coaches have a responsibility to control their players, so I have sent strong warnings to both Gerad Adams and Paul Thompson that further incidents like this will not be tolerated.”
The Elite League are also finalising their investigations into off-ice incidents which took place after the game and will issue a further statement in due course.