Following a heated line brawl at the end of Sunday’s 6-1 New York Riveters loss to the first place Connecticut Whale, the NWHL’s Player Safety Committee has handed down two suspensions and two warnings on Friday. As a part of the discipline, the NWHL has announced a new system of warnings that can end in player discipline.
Connecticut’s Micaela Long received a one-game ban for a late, high hit on Riveters captain Ashley Johnston, the hit that started the brawl after Danielle Ward went in a little hard on Riveters goaltender Jenny Scrivens.
On the other side of the line brawl, three Riveters came off the bench and entered the donnybrook. Defenseman Elena Orlando was maybe the most noticeable, as she jumped right into the brawl and started throwing punches. Orlando has been handed down a one-game suspension for her efforts.
The NWHL, as a result of this incident, has announced the implementation of a warning system where players can be issued a warning for illegal actions on the ice that the league does not believe rise to the level of a suspension. Those warnings can add up and after three “warning strikes” a player is called into the NWHL Player Safety Committee and may face supplemental discipline, as is explained in the video below.
New York’s Morgan Fritz-Ward and Bray Ketchum were both issued warnings for coming off the bench on a legal line change after the whistle and immediately became involved in an illegal altercation. Fritz-Ward received two warning strikes and Ketchum gets a single warning strike.
Here’s the NWHL Player Safety video on the Orlando suspension and Fritz-Ward/Ketchum warnings:
Here’s the NWHL Player Safety video on Long’s suspension:
And video of the full line brawl:
The NWHL’s Player Safety Committee is comprised of NWHL Commissioner Dani Rylan, NWHLPA Director Erika Lawler, Patrick Burke from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, Matt Leaf, Director of USA Hockey’s Officiating Education Program, 2014 U.S. Olympian Josephine Pucci and representatives from the NWHLPA whose teams were not involved in the incident being reviewed.
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Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.