(The Sports Xchange) – National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 10-game suspension given to Anaheim Ducks forward Antoine Vermette for slashing an official with his stick during a game last week, the league announced Saturday.
Vermette slapped his stick against the back legs of linesman Shandor Alphonso after losing a faceoff to Minnesota’s Mikko Koivu during the third period of Anaheim’s 1-0 victory on Feb. 14.
The 34-year-old Vermette violated Rule 40.3 (physical abuse of officials). The length of the suspension includes four games already served.
Vermette met with Bettman during a hearing in New York on Thursday, pursuant to his appeal of the suspension assessed on Feb. 16.
Vermette “exhibited sincere remorse both at the hearing and in his prior apology delivered to Mr. Alphonso,” the commissioner said in his statement.
“While in a particular case, and one such as this, the ten (10) game penalty may seem harsh, the purpose of Rule 40 is to protect the Officials and ensure the integrity of the game,” Bettman wrote.
“Therefore, any inappropriate conduct by Players vis-a-vis Officials cannot be condoned or tolerated.”
Under terms of the collective bargaining agreement and, based on his average annual salary, Vermette will forfeit $97,222.22. The money goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.
Vermette has eight goals and 14 assists over 58 games in his first season with the Ducks.
(Editing by Andrew Both)