Canada’s Joe Veleno suspended five games for kicking at hockey worlds

Nino Niederreiter of Switzerland, right, talks to Joseph Veleno of Canada during the group B match between Switzerland and Canada at the ice hockey world championship in Riga, Latvia, Saturday, May 20, 2023. (Roman Koksarov/AP)

Canada’s Joe Veleno was suspended five games on Sunday for kicking Switzerland captain Nino Niederreiter at the world hockey championship.

The incident occurred during Canada’s 3-2 loss to the Swiss on Saturday in Riga, Latvia. Veleno, who plays for the Detroit Red Wings, was seen stamping down on the leg and foot of Switzerland captain Nino Niederreiter at 8:48 of the second period.

No penalty was assessed on the play to Vereno, though Niederreiter, a member of the Winnipeg Jets, was given a two-minute minor for his response against Vereno.

“Canada’s National Men’s Team acknowledges the role of the committee and appreciate the diligence that went into the decision-making process, and we accept and support the IIHF’s decision,” said Doug Armstrong, Canada’s GM, in a statement released by Hockey Canada.

“I accept the sanction from the IIHF and apologize for my actions,” Veleno said, in the same statement.

The suspension effectively ends Veleno’s tournament as Canada has just two preliminary-round games left, followed by the playoff round, which would max out at three additional games should they make it all the way to gold- or bronze-medal game.

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