The Canadian Hockey League has suspended Canadiens draft pick Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades for the remainder of the Memorial Cujp Tournament for a check on Tayler Leier in the first period of Wednesday’s loss to the Portland WinterHawks. The Blades gave up three goals in the third period to lose 4-2 to Portland.
Thrower hit Leier as he was cutting into the middle just inside the blue-line. Leier’s head hit the ice hard and he remained motionless before getting help to the dressing room. No penalty was assessed on the play. (See Video Below)
The NHL’s hockey operations department which is disciplinary body for the Canadian Hockey League for the Memorial Cup handed out the suspension Thursday. Length of the suspension could vary from one to three games, depending on how far the Blades advance. If they win Thursday night in the tiebreaker game against the London Knights, Saskatoon and Portland will meet again in the semifinal Friday. The Halifax Mooseheads await Friday’s winner in the final on Sunday.
The incident is reminiscent of the Eller/Gryba hit at the Bell Centre and Raffi Torres/Jarret Stoll incident out west where there might be an argument as to whether there was intent but there is no question about the blow to the head.
Thrower said later. “I didn’t mean to hurt him as badly as he was, It’s hockey. The game is fast. I was angling him off and he was cutting to the middle and I finished my check.”
This has been a difficult year for the 19 year old Thrower. This hit was similar to one in October on Lethbridge’s Axel Blomqvist that resulted in a two game suspension for Thrower. “That one I ended up leaving my feet. This one I had my shoulders down and my feet planted,” said Thrower. “He cut right into me and I just laid a hit on him.” Thrower was also suspended by his coach Lorne Molleken for “playing by his own rules”.
Here’s the Video
Suspension Announcement from the Canadian Hockey League & NHL Operations
Saskatoon, SK – The Canadian Hockey League announced Thursday that the National Hockey League Hockey Operations department has suspended Dalton Thrower of the Saskatoon Blades under supplemental discipline for the balance of the 2013 MasterCard Memorial Cup. The suspension was for a check to the head that occurred in the first period of Wednesday’s game that injured opponent Taylor Leier of the Portland Winterhawks.