Here is my conversation with Richard Doerksen this afternoon on the Tyler Myers hit.
"First of all we spent a great deal of time upon our return to the office Tuesday reviewing the hit. Obviously any time a major penalty is accessed in our league it comes under review to warrant or to determine if their should be a suspension. In reviewing this particular hit, and being in the replay booth where we had the option of watching it immediately after the hit occurred, our assessment of the penalty is it should have been a double minor for checking from behind similar to the hit on (Evan) Bloodoff of Kelowna where Toigo is accessed a double minor for checking from behind. When we originally brought in checking from behind we had a two minute penalty, a major and a game misconduct or a match penalty. We felt that sometimes players turn at the last second and the player coming in to make a hit has no alternative and unfortunately gets him in the back, so we did not think it was fair that if that player was injured, he (the offending player) would be thrown out of the game, consequently we adopted the double minor for checking from behind so that player would still be penalized but he would not be thrown out of the game. In reviewing this particular situation, certainly it is our opinion, and that includes the director of officiating, assistant director of officiating and the two referee's that had a chance to see it on tape later, that the correct call should have been a double minor for checking from behind. Of course I am deeply concerned any time a player gets injured in our league, but to keep consistent with my past decisions, we have not suspended a player for receiving a double minor for checking from behind if that player did turn just before he got hit. While their is no suspension on this play, I think it needs further discussion at our league level and we may have to consider changing that stance in the future and discuss whether we should suspend the player if the player gets hurt very seriously from a double minor penalty."
It's been suggested that the penalty was looked at differently because it was the playoffs, but you don't buy that?
"Anyone who knows me, knows that is not the situation. I have suspended players in the past in our championship series. I've suspended players in each round of the playoffs before, and while we don't want suspensions in the playoffs, if they are warranted, we definitely will".
It's been suggested that because Myers is a marquee player that you looked at this differently:
"People can think what they want. It doesn't come into play who the player is. It could have been Craig Schira hitting Tyler Myers and we would have had the city of Kelowna in an uproar as to why a suspension wasn't being given if Tyler Myers was injured. I have to deal with these situations on a consistent basis and on this particular situation I felt a double minor would have been the correct call, consequently a suspension will not be handed out".
Richard Doerksen is the Vice President of Hockey for the WHL.