The National Hockey League Officials Association are disappointed with the independent arbitrator's decision to reduce Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension given that the linesman injured on the play will miss the rest of the season.
Official Don Henderson, a 21-year NHL veteran, reportedly sustained a concussion when Wideman cross-checked him from behind in a game on Jan.27 and has not worked since the incident.
"The NHLOA strongly disagrees with the arbitrator's decision to reduce Dennis Wideman's suspension to 10 games while linesman Don Henderson continues to recover from an injury inflicted by the player that will sideline him for the rest of the season," NHLOA president Dan O'Halloran said in a statement released Saturday.
"The message in reducing the suspension that is sent to NHL players, as well as athletes all over the world, including children, is that the code of conduct towards officials has changed."
Statement from Officials' Association on reduction of Wideman suspension. pic.twitter.com/ZXHVG1r1yd— @FriedgeHNIC
Wideman's 20-game suspension for physically abusing an official was reduced to 10 games by an independent arbitrator, who ruled that the Flames defenceman did not intend to injure Henderson.
In an 18-page ruling Friday, James Oldham wrote that he agreed with the NHL's decision to suspend Wideman, but he disagreed that there was sufficient evidence to show the player deliberately wanted to injure Henderson when he hit him.