Edina vs. Blaine hockey brawl ends in suspensions - New York News

Edina vs. Blaine hockey brawl ends in suspensions

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A fight between two high school hockey teams in the metro ended in nearly a dozen suspensions over the weekend, and it's also raising questions about the use of video footage in doling out punishments.

The Saturday night brawl between players from Edina and Blaine has cost some players the chance to skate for a championship Junior Gold-A title after the intense, one-goal game was finished off with fists.

When all was said and done, more than 10 players were suspended -- and for some, it will likely mean the end of their hockey careers.

"I would like to be out there for the championship," said suspended Edina player Carl Schwappach.

Schwappach joined a handful of his teammates on the wrong side of the glass on Sunday, and the group says they are disappointed they had to sit out of the final game against Minnetonka.

"It's missing the last game of my career. Won't be playing hockey after this," Schwappach said. "That's it for me and the other suspended kids."

While many professional sports leagues use instant replay, it's not often that it is used at the youth level -- but the altercation was caught on camera.

"Punches are thrown. Oh boy, it's getting nasty out there, folks," said the announcer.

The Minnesota Sports Broadcast Network, a company hired to videotape the games for online viewing, posted video of the brawl online. In this case, fans weren't the only ones interested in the footage. State hockey officials also used it to make sure the punishments were appropriate.

"We haven't had an incident like that in years," said Tom Slaird, chairman of the Metro Hockey League.

According to the rules, fighting in a game at that level results in an automatic there-game suspension. Slaird credited the referees for making the right call on the ice and said the video was only used to affirm what officials thought they saw during a chaotic 90 seconds.

When asked whether he would use instant replay in future games -- especially in light of another melee at the end of a tournament match between Tartan and Woodbury, Slaird said the question was "a tough one."

"We don't mind third party webcasters," he said.

The suspensions also mean Edina was short-handed, eventually running out of gas and giving up three third-period goals.

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