The BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters knew they’d lose leading scorer Charlie Zuccarini at the end of the season.  They just didn’t expect to lose him now.

Zuccarini has been suspended by the league for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs for slashing referee Kirk Wood.  He received a match penalty for Abuse of Officials and was ejected from the game.

From the Trail Smoke Eaters’ website:

At 16:49 of the third period in the game against Coquitlam Express on the weekend Charlie was issued a match penalty for slashing the wrist of the referee Kirk Wood.  Charlie took responsibility for his actions and did not question that he was in the wrong.  A hearing was held with BCHL officials, Zuccarini and representatives of the the Trail Smoke Eaters on January 27.

Charlie Zuccarini of the BCHL's Trail Smoke Eaters

Charlie Zuccarini of the BCHL’s Trail Smoke Eaters

The BCHL indicated that officials are part of the playing surface and unfortunately come into contact with players as well as the puck from time to time.  Players have no reason nor business intentionally making contact with an official  in an agressive manner and especially using their hockey stick.  An abuse of official whether verbal or physical is unacceptable and not tolerated in the BCHL.  Charlie crossed the line when he used his stick intentionally to contact Kirk Wood.

Charlie was frustrated over a non-call by the official and unfortunately overreacted in the heat of the moment.  The Smoke Eater organization completely agree with the BCHL ruling, as our officials must be protected but, can also understand how in the heat of the moment a player can lose his discipline.   They regret the loss of Charlie as he was one of the most dynamic players the Smoke Eaters had for quite some time.

“It is a big blow to our organization to lose a player like Charlie for the remainder of the season,” said head coach Nick Descehenes. “I can’t comment on the severity of the suspension only to say that any physical abuse of officials in the BCHL is not tolerated. Hockey is a fast and intense game and in the heat of the moment players do things they regret.  I believe this is one of those situations.”

As a result of the suspension, Zuccarini has played his last game in the BCHL.  He’ll be moving down south for next season, when he takes the ice for Arizona State University.