af Thomas Nielsen
Åbent brev fra spillerne
En samlet spillertrup har bedt os om at offentliggøre følgende åbne brev.
To Whom It May Concern,
We are deeply concerned with the lack of severity in the suspension to Kristian Jensen (KJ) as a result of the assault that occurred in Frederikshavn on Friday September 20th, 2019.
The following is a link to a video of the situation:
As you can see from the video, KJ grabs the Odense player Lucas and in an MMA style takedown drives him head first into the ice, removing his helmet and rendering Lucas unconscious. He then, seeing that his opponent is unconscious on the ice with no helmet on, winds up and delivers a full-force punch to the side of the head, bouncing it off the ice. He winds up for another punch before the referee and our goalie attempt to stop him from inflicting more damage. KJ shows absolutely no remorse or concern for Lucas as he is taken away by the referee.
This incident is one of the most grotesque situations ever seen in hockey and one where KJ shows no regard for human life and an absolute disrespect for his opponent and to the game of hockey. To come up with a sentence of a two month ban where KJ will miss only seventeen games is a travesty and far too light a punishment for an assault that in the worst-case scenario could have resulted in the death of an eighteen-year-old kid.
A punch to the temple of an unexpecting (and in this case already unconscious) person whose head is laying unprotected just above the ice is an extremely dangerous action and one that should not be condoned with such a light and quickly decided sentence. Lucas now has a severe concussion with no time frame for a full recovery in which he can return to his day to day life and eventually return to ice hockey. A situation like this can result in permanent damage to the brain and could easily affect him later on in
life. On top of the concussion, Lucas sustained fractures to the right side of his face and is seeing a specialist this week for further examination.
We feel that the decision to suspend Kristian Jensen for a brief two months was made far too quickly without realizing the severity of the situation. Although it may be the longest suspension in Danish Hockey, it does not fit the punishment for a crime of this magnitude as seen in other examples from around the world.
In France last year, Holden Anderson used a similar MMA style takedown on the ice which resulted in a major concussion to his opponent. The league took a stand by suspending him indefinitely while the IIHF handled the case and ultimately they came up with a 3 YEAR BAN. This is a similar MMA takedown WITHOUT the aftermath of landing a full force punch to the side of the head of your unconscious opponent as seen with KJ. You can see the incident here:
In the NHL, the following case is where Todd Bertuzzi delivered a punch to an unexpecting opponent. You can see the incident here:
Steve Moore was forced to retire from the game of hockey and he is still dealing with concussion symptoms from a very similar punch to what we saw from KJ, although in our case his opponent was already laying helmetless on the ice. You can see the effects of what a punch like that can have on a person for the rest of their life in the following interview with Steve Moore 10 years after the incident:
Todd Bertuzzi was suspended indefinitely by the league and was charged and found guilty for assault in a court of law. His suspension from hockey ended up being seventeen months.
In the incident from Friday we have an example of both an MMA style takedown and a sucker punch to the lifeless head of an already downed opponent.
Some may argue that hockey is a fast game where emotions run high, but this absolutely does not mean that players have a carte blanche to do anything they want. Players are still responsible for keeping their emotions in check even in the heat of battle and this incident grossly crosses the line of what is acceptable.
We need to take a stand and show that this kind of behavior is unacceptable in the game of hockey. If you are going to make a decision on the ice that shows absolute disregard and disrespect for your opponent’s life, it must be punished accordingly. Precedence must be set for inhumane actions such as this which have nothing to do with the game of hockey and Kristian Jensen should, at a minimum, be suspended for the remainder of this season. Further discussion and time may reveal that the suspension should be closer to the seventeen or thirty-six months as seen in these other cases.
Lucas has sustained immense injuries which are still unclear as to the effect they will have on the remainder of his life and we would ask the DIU to reevaluate the case and find a just punishment or ask the IIHF to step in and come up with an appropriate sentence.
Thank you for your time and consideration of this extremely important case that should not be taken lightly.
The Odense Bulldogs Players