When silence is deafening
Remember that Ronan Keating song when he said “You say it best, when you say nothing at all”? Well, DOPS have shown that silence definitely isn’t golden.
The hockey world talked a lot about the hit from Cardiff’s Masi Marjamaki on David Goodwin of Belfast Giants that wasn’t warranted to be worth any more than the five plus game it received at the time.
To stick my tuppence worth in, it was a poor decision by DOPS to not dish out more of a punishment. How they can honestly concur it wasn’t worth supplemental punishment baffles me.
Considering the other DOPS verdicts handed down to Sam Jones at Fife Flyers and Ben O’Connor of the Steelers, to omit this one from further action is something of a head scratcher.
It took a query from Belfast Telegraph journalist Adam McKendry to contact the league and ask the question, seeking clarification on what was going on with it.
To the EIHL’s credit, they responded and issued a statement saying: ”The player making the hit stayed tucked and there was no elevation or upward movement prior to the hit, which delivered significant body to body contact while the head was not targeted.
Take a minute of your life and watch the whole video. Tell us where you think principle point of contact is! pic.twitter.com/yJOWFBK4z7
— A View From The Bridge (@AVFTB) February 5, 2020
“It was concluded by both (leagues that assessed the incident) that a five minute major penalty and game misconduct on the play were sufficient.
“The injury report submitted by the Belfast Giants was also consistent with there being significant body to body contact, and with the force of the hit coming through the body rather than the head.”
Now, you don’t need to wear glasses to see clearly on the video that the principle point of contact was Goodwin’s head, but we can argue all day that something should have come.
However, the stance the league has in not making an announcement for incidents they’ve deemed not worthy of any further action has been misguided here.
We know they’ve got footage streamed live from all games and can pinpoint the moments they need to look at again, making it a more streamlined process.
A lot of them are dealt with there and then, but to me, they’ve let themselves down with this one and how it was articulated.
Given how big a hit it was, there should have been a communication from the league. It shouldn’t have taken a journalist to approach them for a clarification.
We carried an opinion piece last year from Ryan Maitland asking about the lack of verdicts that have been coming from DOPS and it’s as relevant now as it was then.
I’m not saying there should be communication on every single one, but the big ones need clarification, with this being the case in point.
I worked with the league during the Goulakos/Fretter incident that led to the changes made to the system that’s now in place and it works far better now than it has. Checks to the head have significantly reduced, if you look back over the last two or three years now.
But this one has not helped the fan’s acceptance of DOPS and the manner of the way they work, especially when it comes to communication, as it continue to be viewed with suspicion.
We’re not all going to agree on every judgement made, but at least be more transparent in how you do it and help us understand why, in some cases, no further action was needed.
Surely that’s worth a discussion at the very least.
Back to the drawing board for GB
It’s hard not to feel disappointment that Great Britain failed to make the next stage of the Olympic qualifying tournament, but Pete Russell will no doubt have learned about this team a lot this weekend.
It was the first game since the World Championships in Slovakia last year and after wins over Romania and Estonia, the mood was certainly positive they could get the job done against Hungary.
Where do they go from here? It’s the World Championships next and all eyes towards the tournament in Switzerland this year so Pete has time to look at his team and make some decisions between now and May.
It’s naive to think the squad that took part in Nottingham this weekend will be the exact same one when the pre-tournament games get underway, but there is time to look at what went wrong here and go again.
New boys Scott Conway, Travis Ehrhardt and Brendan Connolly all did well and there’s bound to be room for Liam Kirk, with the season he’s having in the OHL.
If anything, it looks like Russell will have plenty of food for thought ahead of what could be a much more difficult attempt on the top group later this year, with two teams, who will be co-hosts already exempt from relegation.
It’s important to remember just how far the GB has come in the last few years so let’s not get bogged down in it. The Olympics are over and the World Championship campaign begins now.