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No Time to Revel in Victory – General Manager Costello Deals with Suspension Hearing, Captain’s Injury and Immigration SNAFU

Monday, October 24th
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It turned out to be a costly opening weekend for the Allen Americans that could unfortunately impact the team for quite a while. The good news is Allen bounced back from a 4-3 loss in Tulsa on Friday to get coach Costello his first win in Wichita on Saturday. A shorthanded Americans team beat the Thunder 5-3. However, the celebration was short lived as Costello is now dealing with injuries, suspensions and immigration issues. Here is an update:

JACKSON LEPPARD: Some type of immigration snafu caused Leppard to sit out both games this weekend even though he was on the trip. The good news is this will be resolved, and Leppard will be good to go for the home opener on Saturday.

SPENCER ASUCHAK: A lower leg injury in Tulsa has Asuchak likely out of the lineup for the foreseeable future. Nothing will be known for sure until he sees the doctor, but it doesn’t look good. If you watched the game on Friday, it sure looked like a penalty, but none was called. Not sure if the referee didn’t see the hit or thought it was a legal one, but the end result has put the captain on the sidelines. Hopefully Spencer will get good news from the doctor and his absence will be shorter than anticipated.

MIKAEL ROBIDOUX: The ECHL suspended Robidoux indefinitely yesterday for an incident with a fan in Wichita on Saturday as he was leaving the ice after being given a 10-minute misconduct penalty. The ECHL press release said this:

“Allen’s Mikael Robidoux has been suspended indefinitely pending a hearing with ECHL Hockey Operations and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in ECHL Game #296, Allen at Wichita, on Oct. 22. Robidoux is fined and suspended under Rule #28 – Supplementary Discipline as the result of his actions after leaving the ice surface at 19:29 of the second period. Further details on Robidoux’s suspension will be announced following his hearing this week.”

If you haven’t seen what happened here is a video of the incident:

– A starting point in discussing this incident is what is contained in the ECHL Official Rule Book and the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA):

ECHL Rule 23.9:  Any player, goalkeeper or non-playing Club personnel who physically interferes with the spectators, becomes involved in an altercation with a spectator, throws or shoots any object at a spectator in or out of the playing surface, shall automatically incur a game misconduct penalty and the referee shall report all such infractions to the Commissioner who shall have full power to impose such further penalty as he shall deem appropriate.”

CBA Article X, Section 6 (2): For any suspension that exceeds twenty (20) games, the Commissioner must hold a hearing upon adequate notice to the Player and the PHPA of the date and time of the hearing. The Player shall have the right to be represented by a representative of the PHPA. Such hearing may be held in person or by teleconference. The decision of the Commissioner shall be final and binding upon all parties and shall not be reviewable by any court or be the subject of a grievance except for abuse of discretion by the Commissioner.

– Not sure if the hearing is because the proposed suspension is for more than 20 games or for some other reason like the fact there was fan involvement, but it is obvious the league is taking this incident very seriously.

– No matter how you view this incident and I have heard many points of view since Saturday night, the best course of action for Robidoux would have been to keep walking and ignore the fan. With that said there are plenty of mitigating circumstances that should be considered in determining the length of the suspension.

– The mitigating factors:

  • Wichita has had more than its share of incidents with players over the years. It is one of the few ECHL arenas where fans can literally touch the players as they leave the ice.
  • It is clear from the video the fan reached out at Robidoux.
  • From what I understand the fan was removed and it may have not been the first time this has happened.
  • Robidoux was not given a game misconduct and played the rest of the game. Maybe the officials didn’t see what happened.
  • There were no security or arena personnel in the tunnel.
  • Tweet from longtime ECHL player Jesse Mychan, who was suspended after an altercation with Robidoux last season, so not a friend, “In Robi’s defense, I’ve been spit on numerous times leaving the ice in Wichita (looks like by the same fan). You can never touch a fan or swing your stick BUT the league should consider why he defended himself.”
  • Tweet from Justin Cohn, long time sportswriter for The Journal Gazette (Fort Wayne). “30 seconds left in the period — I know it takes staff and/or money — but should have security or a moveable tunnel, especially for certain rivalries. they do that at the NHL level for a reason.”
  • Tweet from Robidoux’s teammate Jack Combs, “Probably time for the league and rink to protect visiting players as well? In almost every other rink in the league fans don’t have direct access to the players.”

– When I reached Chad Costello late last night for a statement it was clear he has some strong opinions on this entire incident, from what took place on the ice before it happened to what happened after the incident. There is no doubt Costello will be well prepared for the hearing and will get to share his thoughts in a professional, well reasoned manner. Here is the statement Costello gave me:

“There are many parties at fault in this situation. We will meet with the league later this week to hear the decision on the fan, the building arrangements and the player. I will continue to support Robi and all of our players in any playing and learning situations. We will know more soon.”

– The bottom line for me is a suspension is appropriate, even with the mitigating circumstances, but 20+ games seem way too harsh. The fact that Robidoux is a repeat offender will obviously not help his case. Whatever the Commissioner ends up deciding on the length of the suspension, let’s hope this incident motivates the league to help facilitate changes in arenas like Wichita’s, in an effort to do a better job of protecting visiting players from fans that get out of hand.– Something to keep in mind when the Robidoux suspension is decided. Players who are suspended must remain on the active roster, which means their salary counts towards the salary cap even though they are not playing. This could mean the Americans might have to play shorthanded for the length of the suspension, just to fit under the salary cap.DID YOU KNOW: How important is a lead in ECHL games? The stats after opening weekend are really compelling. Comebacks are rare for sure!22-1-1-0: Record for teams leading after the first period opening weekend.23-1-1-0: Record for teams leading after the second period opening weekend.In 2021-22 the record for teams with a second period lead was 654-47-39-18. That record computes to a points percentage of exactly .900.In 2021-22, seven teams never lost a game in regulation time all season when leading after the second period (Adirondack, Allen, Cincinnati, Fort Wayne, Iowa, Jacksonville, Tulsa).

The post No Time to Revel in Victory – General Manager Costello Deals with Suspension Hearing, Captain’s Injury and Immigration SNAFU appeared first on Allen Americans Hockey Club.

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