Detroit Red Wings center Joe Veleno was playing for the Canadian team in the IIHF World Championship second-round game against Switzerland Saturday when this happened:
This is extremely dangerous from Joe Veleno. I’m not sure how stomping on an opponents leg crosses your mind, but this is ridiculous.
And he didn’t even get a penalty, Niederreiter was the only one because of the Veleno selljob. Canada scored on the same PowerPlay. pic.twitter.com/1O69mPTqmI
— Thomas Mercier 🎙️ (@TJM_PlayByPlay) May 20, 2023
Veleno was in a battle for the puck on the boards when he lifted his right leg and stomped down hard and purposefully on the left leg of Nino Niederreiter, the Swiss team’s captain.
As OutKick described it, Niederreiter pinned the puck to the boards, and when Veleno could not knock it free, he just stomped on Niederreiter’s right calf.
While the egregious penalty is clear in the video, officials at the time did not notice the stomp and Veleno was not penalized. Amazingly, Niederreiter was penalized later for retaliating for the blow.
To make matters worse, the penalty resulted in a power play for the Canadian team, and according to Detroit Hockey Now, Canada scored a goal on the resulting power play to take a 1-0 lead.
Fox News reported that Niederreiter told Denik Sport, “It does not belong in our sport. You can’t do it. It’s too dangerous, the blades are extremely sharp. This doesn’t belong in hockey.”
“He try to go in the battle to hurt me and almost going to (break) my ankle. I’m very curious, what IIHF do about it. I hope they do better job,” Niederreiter continued.
Should Veleno be sanctioned?
Evander Kane, a star for the Edmonton Oilers, was one of many NHL stars who tweeted about the event when tweeted, “This is why fighting in Hockey is needed, it discourages ideas like this and helps police the game effectively. Disgusting play to watch.”
This is why fighting in Hockey is needed, it discourages ideas like this and helps police the game effectively. Disgusting play to watch. Especially after my injury this year. Embarrassing https://t.co/VwX2yA8C1Q
— Evander Kane (@evanderkane) May 20, 2023
If you fight in the NHL, you will sit in the penalty box for at least five minutes, but more than likely you will return to the game. In international hockey, on the other hand, a person who participates in a fight is assessed a match penalty and then ejected from the contest.
The injury could have been much worse than it was, and both Veleno and Niederreiter are lucky that nothing more serious happened.
Detroit Hockey Now reported that former NHL player Mikael Renberg was covering the game for a Swiss television station and stated, “It’s lucky that it’s the shin guard and not at the back. Then the heel tendon comes off, because the skate blade is so sharp. I think that is really ugly.”
According to The Athletic, “Team Canada and Red Wings forward Joe Veleno has been suspended five games in the 2023 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship for violating IIHF rules on kicking.”
Suspension Announcement: @HockeyCanada‘s Joe Veleno has been issued a 5-game suspension for violating Official Playing Rule 49 (Kicking).
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) May 21, 2023
Switzerland won the match 3-2.