Team USA forward Mikey Eyssimont was ejected from Tuesday’s IIHF World Championship game against Sweden for kneeing defenseman Rasmus Sandin.

The hit came just 5:03 into the match. Eyssimont, who plays for the Tampa Bay Lightning, caught Sandin knee-on-knee as the defenseman was moving the puck and trying to avoid contact.

The former Leaf – and current Capitals blueliner – was injured on the play.


Referees Mike Langin and Andre Schrader reviewed the hit, confirming the five-minute major for kneeing.

The IIHF rule is quite similar to the NHL’s for kneeing. From Rule 50:

Kneeing is the act of a Player leading with their knee and in some cases extending their leg outwards to make contact with their opponent.

The Referee shall, at their discretion, assess a Minor Penalty, based on the severity of the infraction, to a Player guilty of “kneeing” an opponent.

The Referee, at their discretion, may assess a Major Penalty to a Player guilty of “kneeing” an opponent, and who recklessly endangers the fouled Player in a way that at the discretion of the Referee such Player would not be sufficiently sanctioned by imposing a Minor Penalty. A Game Misconduct Penalty must be assessed anytime a Major Penalty is imposed for “kneeing”.

The Referee, at their discretion, may assess a Match Penalty if, in their judgment, the Player recklessly endangers their opponent by “kneeing”. Such assessment of reckless endangerment shall be based on the severity of the infraction, severity of the contact, the degree of violence and the general reprehensibility involved.


No word on the severity of Sandin’s injury.

Eyssimont was ejected for the remainder of the game.  It’ll be up to the IIHF’s Disciplinary Committee to determine if he misses any additional time.