Austrian defenseman Philipp Wimmer was ejected in the third period of his team’s opening match at the 2021 World Juniors. The blueliner was tossed for an illegal check to the head of Team USA forward Patrick Moynihan.
The hit came in the final 90 seconds of Saturday’s game, with Austria trailing 11-0.
From the IIHF Rule Book:
RULE 124 – CHECKING TO THE HEAD OR NECK
DEFINITION: There is no such thing as a clean check to the head. A player who directs a hit of any sort, with any part of his body or equipment, to the head or neck of an opposing player […]. This rule supersedes all similar actions regarding hits to the head and neck except those related to fighting.
i. A player who directs a hit to the head or neck of an opponent will be assessed a minor and misconduct penalty.
ii. A player who directs a hit to the head or neck of an opponent may also be assessed either a major and automatic game-misconduct penalty or a match penalty.
iii. A penalty for checking to the head or neck will be assessed if one of the following occurs when a player checks an opponent:
1. The player directs a hit with any part of his body or equipment to the head or neck of an opponent;
2. The player drives or forces the head of an opponent into the protective glass or boards by using any part of his upper body;
3. The player extends and directs any part of his upper body to make contact with the head or neck of an opponent;
4. The player extends his body upward or outward in order to reach his opponent or uses any part of the upper body to make contact with an opponent’s head or neck;
5. The player jumps (leaves his skates) to deliver a blow to the head or neck of an opponent.
iv. If a skater skates with his head up, is in possession of the puck, and is expecting a bodycheck, an opponent does not have the right to hit him in the head or neck.
v. If the primary force of a blow is initially to the body area and then contact slides up to the head or neck area, a penalty for checking to the head or neck will not be assessed.
vi. A skater who delivers a bodycheck to an opponent who is skating with the puck with his head down in the direction of the skater, and does not use an upward motion or drive his body up into the opponent, will not be penalized for checking to the head or neck.
vii. If a skater maintains his position in the normal course of game action as an opponent runs into him, the ensuing contact will not be considered checking to the head or neck unless conditions in Rules 124-iii or 124-iv are violated.
No word yet from the IIHF, but expect Wimmer to miss some time.
Referees for the game were Mike Langin (#19) and Mathieu Menniti (#21). Linesmen were Deion Foster (#66) and Michael McGowan (#64).