An ugly king-hit by Canterbury Red Devils captain Hayden Argyle, which left an opponent lying unconscious on the ice, has been decried by his coach Stacey Rout.
Argyle is expected to be suspended after punching Southern Stampede star Matt Schneider in the head during a New Zealand Ice Hockey League game in Christchurch last weekend.
"I'm definitely not happy because this is not the style of ice hockey we want to play," Rout said.
"I know that, in the heat of the moment, things boiled over for Hayden but, reflecting on it instantly and over the last couple of days, he has huge remorse for what he has done."
Schneider, a Canadian import, was taken to hospital for X-rays which later came back clear.
Before hitting Schneider, Argyle had broken his stick on the Canadian's arm. Following the punch there was a fracas and Argyle was subsequently sent off.
A deflated Rout admitted that video evidence of the incident meant it was difficult to defend his skipper.
"He knows he has let me down in his actions," Rout said.
"The outcome [Schneider being knocked out] - he did not want that to happen to the other player."
Argyle's must now wait for the NZIHL tribunal to consider his case. A decision is expected this week.
Rout appeared resigned to losing his key player.
"The severity of the suspension, we just don't know. It will be a minimum of two games and it could be up to four games. Considering we play a 16-game season that has a huge effect on our team."
Because a suspended player cannot be replaced, Argyle has compromised the Red Devils' hopes of winning the title for a third successive season.
In recent seasons, Argyle has attempted to clean-up his game after having a reputation for being a hot-head.
"Unfortunately, I can't change what happened," Rout said. "It's something we have to do without but like other sports such as rugby and soccer these things come up and we just have to deal with them.
"And we have to make sure we deal with them in the right way for ice hockey and our club. We will be sending a letter of apology to the Southern Stampede."
The Red Devils beat the Queenstown-based Stampede in both games.
- The Press
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