DOPS serves bans after Kirkcaldy scuffle

Fife's 2-1 win over Manchester on Sunday ended up being remembered for the wrong reasons (PHOTO: Jillian McFarlane)

The Elite League’s Department of Player Safety have handed out a total of 14 game suspensions following the post-match incident between Fife Flyers and Manchester Storm on Sunday.

Flyers’ Evan Stoflet was hit with a six-game ban while Storm counterparts Harrison Ruopp and Linden Springer picked up three and five game suspensions respectively.

Both clubs were also hit with a £3,000 fine each, the maximum amount that can be handed down under Elite League rules and regulations.

The disciplinary action was needed after an altercation flared up following the post-game handshakes as emotions boiled over in the Flyers’ 2-1 win.

The statement explained why each player picked up the bans they did, adding DOPS didn’t have a reference point for such a case.

It said: “With a gathering of players occurring, it has been determined that the first incident of severity is when Evan Stoflet threw a right hand punch to an unsuspecting opposing player.

WATCH: DOPS video explanation from the post game incident on Sunday

“The right-hand punch accelerated the entire incident and was the direct cause of the fight that immediately followed.

“From a player safety stand point, it was considered that Evan Stoflet did sustain an injury, as a result of not having his helmet on. However in the opinion of the DOPS panel, Evan Stoflet made a choice to start a fight, and he is 100% responsible for participating in the incident.

“Being an active and willing participant in a fight at the conclusion of the game and hand shake is not an acceptable practice. Harrison Rupp is considered a willing and active participant in the fight.

As for Springer, the statement continued: “With the Fife Flyers’ player being held from behind by a Manchester Storm player, Linden Springer threw a left hand punch directly at the opposing player who is unable to defend himself.

“The reason for a five game suspension is Springer then threw a second third forceful punch directed directly at the head of the opposing player.

“There are no previous case studies or examples that the DOPS department can use as a reference, therefore this incident will be dealt with in a ‘move forward’ perspective, which is what the EIHL has been working towards this entire season.”

WATCH: DOPS video explanation of ban for Dane Byers

Springer issued an apology on social media on Wednesday, stating a willingness to accept what disciplinary measures come to him.

“I am accountable for my own actions and I’m ready to accept whatever punishment is handed out,” he said.

“Clearly, emotions were high and my split second reaction was a mistake, which I regret.  I will wear this on the chin and move on as I do not believe this situation defines me as a person or a player.

“I made a mistake and I will live with it.”

Storm captain Dane Byers, who was also involved in the incident was given a one-game ban for what’s been described as a ‘careless’ play during the game, which was the subject of a requested review.

It’s believed three other reviews submitted by Flyers have yet to be determined from Sunday’s game.

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