NHLPA to appeal Wideman suspension to neutral arbitrator Thursday

A text by Dennis Wideman to a teammate was released by the League in its decision to uphold his 20-game suspension. This has caused waves in the NHL and brought forward concerns over private communications by players.

The next phase of the Dennis Wideman saga will take place this week.

After NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the 20-game suspension handed to the Calgary Flames defenceman last Wednesday for knocking linesman Don Henderson to the ice, the NHLPA announced its intention to appeal the ruling to an independent arbitrator, which will take place Thursday and Friday in New York City with arbitrator James Oldham.

The players’ union released a statement last week, citing that the NHL’s initial suspension was too harsh.

“We are extremely disappointed but not surprised that Gary Bettman upheld the decision of his staff to suspend Dennis Wideman for 20 games,” the NHLPA said in a statement. “This decision completely ignores the effects of the concussion that Dennis sustained when he was driven into the boards eight seconds before colliding with the linesman. We will appeal to the Neutral Discipline Arbitrator in order to have this decision overturned.”