Dallas Stars defenseman Jamie Oleksiak has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Philadelphia Flyers forward Chris Vandevelde when the two teams met on December 10.

Oleksiak’s hit, says the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, “[made] the head the main point of contact on a hit where such head contact was avoidable.”



Vandevelde left the ice for evaluation but later returned to the game.

No penalty was assessed during the game by referees Dan O’Rourke and Francois St. Laurent.

Here’s the official rule:

48.1 Illegal Check to the Head – A hit resulting in contact with an opponent’s head where the head was the main point of contact and such contact to the head was avoidable is not permitted. In determining whether contact with an opponent’s head was avoidable, the circumstances of the hit including the following shall be considered:

(i) Whether the player attempted to hit squarely through the opponent’s body and the head was not “picked” as a result of poor timing, poor angle of approach, or unnecessary extension of the body upward or

(ii) Whether the opponent put himself in a vulnerable position by assuming a posture that made head contact on an otherwise full body check unavoidable.

(iii) Whether the opponent materially changed the position of his body or head immediately prior to or simultaneously with the hit in a way that significantly contributed to the head contact.

It’s worth noting that Player Safety confirmed that Vandevelde was eligible to be checked and did not materially change his positioning in a way that contributed to the head contact.

Oleksiak will forfeit $10,208.34 as a result of the suspension.  This is his first run-in with the Player Safety; he’d never been fined or suspended before.