Chaz Johnson received a one-game suspension Friday for his hit on Alaska’s Mark Isherwood on Wednesday. Johnson, who received a game misconduct for violating the newly instituted rule 48.3, will miss tonight’s game against the Las Vegas Wranglers.
“I thought it was kind of a tough call,” Reign coach Karl Taylor said. “The league’s going to do what they have to do and we respect the decision. We want to protect our players. We don’t want anybody taking advantage of a person in a weak position. I thought it was a tough call based on the play. I’d rather have the league fault on the side of safety and protecting the players. It’s tough to argue the call in the end.
“I’m not sure how they come to the final conclusion – what’s a suspension and what’s not. It’s a new rule. They just try to determine is it a shot to the head? Is it a shoulder? The force, is the player injured?”
The ECHL declined to comment on the suspension, citing a longstanding policy.
With Isherwood standing in the slot, Johnson charged laterally from the left circle and made contact with the defenseman a moment after Isherwood released a shot. The hit, which appeared to be shoulder-first, spun Isherwood around and
immediately drew a game misconduct. The one-game suspension was at the ECHL’s discretion, however, Johnson will be suspended automatically if he’s hit with the penalty again.
It’s the sixth suspension in the league under rule 48, which was first adopted late last season in the NHL in response to a spate of concussions caused by blind-side hits to the head. The rule was subsequently instituted this season by both the ECHL and the AHL.
Johnson was also fined an undisclosed amount under Rule 28 – Supplementary Discipline.