NHL Officials’ Association deplores Wideman ruling in statement

Dennis Wideman spoke briefly to the media about his feelings following the decision by the independent arbitrator, thanked his supporters and added that he is glad to put the event behind him.

The National Hockey League Officials Association released a statement Saturday expressing its disagreement with an arbitrator’s decision to reduce Calgary Flames defenceman Dennis Wideman‘s suspension to 10 games.

Wideman was handed a 20-game suspension on Feb. 3 for colliding with Don Henderson and cross-checking the linesman to the ice during a Jan. 27 game versus the Nashville Predators.

The NHLOA said it “strongly disagrees with the arbitrator’s decision,” adding “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 toward officials has changed.”

The veteran defenceman saw his suspension reduced to 10 games Friday. Although he already missed 19 games, Wideman will see half of the $564,516.13 he lost in salary repaid. Wideman returned to the Flames’ lineup Friday night, playing 18 minutes in a 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

Linesman Don Henderson has not worked since the incident and will miss the remainder of the season, according to the NHLOA’s statement. The 47-year-old is recovering from concussion symptoms.

Wideman, who has one more season remaining on his contract with a $5.25-million cap hit, has two goals and 19 points in 49 games this season.