The Western Hockey League has suspended Victoria Royals forward Alex Edwards for 25 games for a hit from behind on Everett Silvertips defenceman Dexter Whittle.
Midway through the second period of Saturday’s game in Everett, Whittle played the puck along the wall below the goal line. Edwards, on the forecheck, delivered a hard hit through the numbers, driving Whittle into the boards.
The Silvertips blueliner fell to the ice, as players from both teams came together. The resuting brawl saw a pair of roughing minors handed out, along with a major and a game to Everett’s Beau Courtney for cross-checking.
Edwards was issued a match penalty for intent to injure by referees Bryan Bourdon and Corey Koop.
The WHL followed up, tacking on some major supplemental discipline to Edwards. The Royals’ forward will now sit for 25 games.
Whittle was taken to the hospital, with no word on his injuries. He remains out indefinitely, per the Silvertips.
This is the third suspension in the past 11 months for Edwards. Last November, he picked up a one game ban for instigating a fight in the final five minutes of a game against Prince George that also saw both teams fined $500. Once again, Edwards found himself starting a fight at the end of a game; his second incident came against the Vancouver Giants in March, prompting a two-game suspension and a $1000 fine to the Royals.
The WHL noted Edwards’ history in their ruling
In addition to the severity of Edwards’ actions, other key factors considered in the decision include the severe injury to the opponent on the play and the fact Edwards is a repeat offender, having been suspended twice previously last season.
In three seasons with Victoria, Edwards has played 58 games, racking up five goals, three assists, 110 penalty minutes… and 28 games in suspensions.
He’ll be eligible to return to the Royals’ lineup on December 1.
Everett, leading 4-3 at the time of the illegal hit, went on to win the game 5-3. The officials were referees Bryan Bourdon (#45) and Corey Koop (#53), with linesmen Mark Heier (#125) and Michael McGowan (#41). Victoria remained winless at 0-2 on the season.