Vicious Two-Handed Slash in QMJHL Game Leaves Player with Broken Jaw (Video)

vicious two-handed slash junior hockey

A vicious two-handed slash that results in an injury that requires surgery and keeps a guy out of action for 4-6 weeks surely deserves a lengthy suspension, right?

If described like this, then the answer is an obvious “yes.” But what if you add one little detail—namely, that the player doing the slashing had his stick stuck between the glass, and that it appears as though the incident occurred as he was trying to pull it out?

Now things get a little tricky, don’t they?

This exact incident occured on Saturday during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game between the Moncton Wildcats and Halifax Mooseheads. While batling in the corner, Moncton’s Ross Johnston, 19, bumped into Halifax’s Brian Lovell, 17. Lovell lost his balance and fell to the ice after the collision, while the blade of Johnston’s stick got caught between panes of glass.  That’s when Johnston, a 6’5″ 230-pound forward, yanked on his stick to free it from the glass, and just as he did Lovell got back on his feet. The result was one of the nastiest two-handed slashes you’ll ever see.

The referees didn’t see it because it all happened so fast, but a Halifax trainer caught it on video. Take a look:

The slash broke Lovell’s jaw. Here’s what it looked like after the game:

brian lovell swollen jaw

Lovell later had surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks, meaning he’ll miss the remainder of the QMJHL season.

So what actions have been taken? Well, the QMJHL has suspended Johnston indefinitely, pending a thorough examination of the play and a hearing between the player, his team, and the league.

This much seems appropriate, given the severity of the situation. But should more action be taken?

If the act is intentional, then they have to throw the book at Johnston. That type of behavior is inexcusable. However, it certainly seems like this was just a terrible accident.

Yes, players are supposed to have control of their sticks, but everyone is going to mess up from time to time. Even Wayne Gretzky, winner of 10 Art Ross trophies, got a major penalty every once in a while. If it was an accident, should Johnston be suspended further? And if so, on what do you base the length of the suspension—the act itself, or its results?

The QMJHL has yet to come to a decision on their end. What’s your opinion?

Hat Tip – [Buzzing the Net]

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