Monday, December 5, 2016

MacBeth Report: What happened to prompt 871 penalty minutes in one game?

There was a time when a newspaper reporter at a WHL game would pick up a telephone during each intermission and call The Canadian Press with a summary, including goals and penalties. Your biggest nightmare was a bench-clearing brawl, especially one at game’s end that might cause havoc with your newspaper’s deadlines.
Well, there was a game in a Swedish U-18 league on Saturday that featured 871 — yes, 871 — penalty minutes.
Flemingsberg IK beat Åker/Strängnäs HC, 5-0, before 67 spectators. Almost all of the penalties were handed out at game’s end
If you are interested in a summary, there is one right here.
However, The MacBeth Report, who knows his way around European newspapers, found some information in Aftonbladet. I am providing an edited version here.

From The MacBeth Report:
A couple of things stand out. Both coaches and the officials association say that it was not as bad as it looks on the scoresheet and that all concerned say the referee had no choice but to issue game misconducts to every player on the ice.
One should note that in Swedish (and Finnish, and IIHF) hockey, a game misconduct counts as 20 PIM. In North America, it counts as 10 PIM, except in the WHL, where is counts as . . . zero PIM. There were 46 PIM (18 minors, one misconduct) until the handshake line.
(Editor’s note: The WHL doesn’t include misconducts or game misconducts in its penalty totals, which is why you rarely see penalty totals mentioned on this blog. The WHL’s penalty minutes aren’t accurate and can’t be used as reference points with the past or with other leagues.)
So, in Sweden we have 871 PIM. In the NHL, we would have 541 PIM (871 minus 330 for the 10-minute reduction on the 33 game misconducts) and in the WHL, there would be 211 PIM . . . 33 players got five and a game (or five and a match) after the game. Over here, I doubt all 33 players on the ice would have gotten five and a game.
Anyway . . . 871 penalty minutes. Records for Swedish hockey?
With help from Google Translator . . . 
It was not so bad. Most small stuff, says Flemingberg's coach Fredrik Strandfeldt.
He is absolutely right. It's not as bad as it looks, says Robert Sjöström, chairman of Södermanland Officials Association. When Åker/Strängnäs went to thank Flemingsberg after the game that all ended up in the tussle with each other.
More from Sjöström: And the head referee saw no alternative but to hand out a game misconduct to all on the ice, in addition to the two other goalkeepers.
More from Strandfeldt: I and our equipment manager jumped onto the ice and told the boys to separate themselves. It started with a tap at the start and then little nudges and pushes. Do not think it was so serious and no one was hurt. Fuss ended rather quickly in Åker's Ice rink.
The match was won by Flemingberg's J18 5-0. But it will probably not be remembered because of the second event.
It may be a Swedish record where all on the ice, but two goalkeepers, were expelled.
More from Standfeldt: Both I and Åker's coach spoke with the referee after the game. He said he wanted to highlight this. But, again, I do not think it was as bad as the scoresheet says.
Åker's coach Jimmy Albin agreed that it was not fully a brawl but offers a slightly worse picture than his colleague from Flemingsberg.
Here’s Albin: It is a disaster and not good. Certainly, no damage, but it does not look good and it was trash talk that started it all and we have some guys who are hot. So this should not happen in a game. We will talk about this in the team.
Sportbladet spoke with Sjöström, who is chairman of the Södermanlands Officials Committee, which is responsible for the referees.
It is tragic. If one is to strictly follow the rulebook, then the things after the final whistle are punished harder than what takes place during the game. This poor referee does not have much else to do here. There are promising young players in this series and they are judged by promising young hockey referees. Both do what they're told.
This referee did exactly right when he noted everything that happened. Then — before he wrote down everything — he contacted the association. They said he should follow the rulebook and highlight that it was not right, there are five plus a game misconduct for all involved. There are two players with Åker/Strängnäs and one with Flemingsberg highlighted and can be further punished. It is the Disciplinary Committee in the Eastern Region that decides what will happen.
Sportbladet asked: Was it right to do all this?
Sjostrom replied: Yes. If you follow the rule book — that these officials do — then it is right. Had this happened in the Division, Hockey Allsvenskan or SHL, it had never been these proportions. Where do they do it a little differently, you have professional experience.
Sportbladet asked: The coaches do not think it was so serious. Do you agree with them?
Sjöström replied: It's not as bad as it looks. So they are absolutely right. Those involved have taken responsibility 100 percent. There is no field ambulance or the like. It was just too damn big proportion.
Åker/Strängnäs and Flemingsberg should not be hung out like two groups that advocate mass murder. Coaches and leaders — the whole organizations — have been so hard on themselves. They have stood up for the referees and taken hold of their problems. "Shit happens.” But all adults involved have taken responsibility.
Sportbladet asked: What do you do for it not to happen again?

Sjöström replied: This depends on our associations in Sweden which must be active to train hockey referees. Swedish hockey must realize that our clubs have to put a greater commitment to train referees. It is equally important to have good hockey referees with good hockey players. Some clubs are extremely good, some worse. Without shame on anyone.

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