Update:Ross Johnston Suspended 15 Games
Moncton Wildcats forward Ross Johnston has been suspended 15 games following an incident that occurred Saturday night in Halifax. The incident occurred in the third period when Johnston’s stick got wedged between the boards at the Halifax Metro Centre. He forcefully pulled his stick out from between the glass swinging recklessly and making contact directly on the chin of Halifax Mooseheads defenseman Brian Lovell.
Lovell’s jaw was broken as a result of the incident. Johnston did not receive a penalty presumably because no official saw the play clearly as it was behind the play.
Lovell has since had surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks as a result.
See the video of the incident below
This situation is unlike any other we’ve ever seen. There is no precedent and it was tough to gauge what kind of suspension the QMJHL was going to hand down. Unfortunately for Johnston, the incident has gone viral. It could be seen on TSN,Sportsnet and even the popular news website Deadspin. With such attention being brought to the QMJHL, it was predictable that they would want to make a statement with a big suspension.
Ross is a big boy at 6’5″ 230 lbs and one of the toughest fighters in the league. If he truly wanted to injury Lovell, he could have done it without the use of his stick which makes this seem more like an accident than a vicious act. Intentional or not, as a hockey player you always have to be in control of your stick which is why Johnston has been suspended. He has already served one game off his suspension and is eligible to return during the Moncton Wildcats’ third playoff game.
Below is a picture tweeted out by Lovell after Surgery (@Bri_lovell)