The Nelson Leafs will be missing their coach and several players for the majority of January after the KIJHL announced a slew of suspensions Tuesday.
The league handed out a total of 35 games in suspensions to Nelson and eight to Beaver Valley players after the Leafs and Nitehawks engaged in several fights at the beginning of the second period on Dec. 31 in Nelson.
Leafs head coach Adam DiBella is suspended indefinitely, according to a league announcement, “pending completion of an investigation by the KIJHL into his actions during the game in question.”
Leafs players Tyler Seminoff, Leighton Partington, Hunter Sperle and Ryland Mennie were each suspended eight games. They were given three games for participating in staged fights, and five each for instigating multiple fights.
Leafs forward Marko Pavlovic was also given three games for participating in a staged fight.
A line brawl to start the second period.
— KIJHLSniper (@KijhlS) January 1, 2023
Nitehawks players Gavin Tritt, Boris Hristov, Spencer Dixon-Reusz and Kaleb Percival were each suspended two games.
DiBella declined a request for comment from the Nelson Star, which was not present at the game. Beaver Valley team president Stephen Piccolo also declined an interview request.
Leafs president Corey Viala said in a statement issued Thursday the organization “in no way condones what transpired” during the game and apologized to fans for the incident. Viala added the team also accepts the suspensions.
“Our organization has been a leader in the development of players and coaches for many years. Our commitment remains and always will be the development of our players through hockey and education.”
It isn’t clear what began the fights, but in the first period a Nitehawks player collided with Leafs goaltender Frederick Larochelle that in turn started several scrums.
A total of 336 penalty minutes were handed out during the game, which Nelson went on to win 3-1.