The QMJHL has suspended Rimouski Oceanic forward Sam Hunter 12 games for a hit to the head of Blainville-Boisbriand Armada defenseman Rémy Anglehart. The hit took place with three minutes to go in the first period when the two teams met on March 7.
Anglehart was looking down and back as a pass from his own blueline ended up in his skates prior to the check, which the Armada blueliner never saw coming.
“Nobody likes to see this kind of injury there,” said Rimouski coach Serge Beausoleil. “It was a suicide pass from Anglehart’s teammate to whom we offer our comfort.”
Hunter was given a major for an illegal check to the head, along with a match penalty, by refs Jonathan Trudel and Jonathan Girard.
Anglehart opened the scoring with what would stand up as the eventual game-winning goal in a 6-0 Armada win. He was stretchered off the ice after the hit and taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Hunter reportedly reached out to Anglehart after the hit to apologize.
“He never wanted to hurt him intentionally,” said Beausoleil. “He wanted to play the puck. Rémy Anglehart is a [smaller player] and I’m sure the consequences would not have been the same if he had hit a [larger] guy like Pierre-Luc Dubois. Sam has never been suspended in his career. He’s sorry about what happened to Anglehart.”
“North-south checks may have to be banned to protect the players,” Beausoleil added.
From the QMJHL, here is the rationale that led to the decision:
A defensemen for the Armada skated to his blue line and made a pass to his teammate.
He was at the height of the red line in the center of the ice, in the direction of the opposing zone.
The pass was imprecise and in his skates.
The player at fault went towards him and hit him in the head.
The opponent had speed when he received the puck in the skates.
He tried to retrieve it by looking at his feet and was in a vulnerable position.
The player at fault left his position and accelerated towards the opponent.
From the start, he was in the opponent’s blindside and hit him directly at the head.
The player at fault had speed and made no effort to minimize contact.
The player at fault hit him with his arm and elbow.
His arm was close to his body.
This is the first offense of the player at fault.
The opponent was injured on the play.
Hunter’s suspension is the longest handed out this season in the QMJHL. You’d have to go back to 2015, when Bokondji Imama was banned for 15 games back in December 2015 for leaving the bench to fight and making inappropriate gestures, to find a longer sentence.