NHLPA to raise concerns with league about fans littering ice

On this edition of 32 thoughts, Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman discuss how there could be a new directive after Connor Hellebuyck's mask off incident, the concern of player safety from fans and how the Sabres could be dark horse for Jakob Chychrun.

The NHLPA is planning to reach out to the NHL this week to discuss limiting risk to players’ safety after fans littered the ice with beer and food this week.

On Wednesday, New Jersey Devils fans threw debris after the team had a third goal called back against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The flurry began with a hat, however, fans quickly turned to other more dangerous objects, namely full beer cars, which quickly brought the game to a halt.

Things eventually got chaotic enough that the game had to be halted for an extended period, while the Leafs exited their bench and headed down the tunnel.

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“It’s not like they’re throwing it just for joy, they’re throwing it to try and hit us,” Mitch Marner said after the game. “It’s the first I’ve ever seen it, it’s insane.”

On the same night, Vancouver Canucks centre Elias Pettersson was hit by a bag of candy that was thrown on the ice at Ball Arena after the Colorado Avalanche had a penalty called against them.

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As a result of the incidents, the players’ association is hoping to ensure that the league will maintain the importance of safety in situations like this.

“A lot of concern about player safety and ice quality,” Sportsnet’s Jeff Marek reported during the “32 Thoughts” segment on Hockey Night in Canada. “The NHLPA is planning to reach out to the NHL this week to discuss (the incidents) we saw and look to mitigate risk should this happen again. Everything from ice quality and player safety as well.”

As Devils fans continued to throw objects on the ice, head coach Lindy Ruff and players did their best to stop the crowd. According to the NHL rulebook, the officials have the ability to assess a penalty in those situations.

“In the event that objects are thrown on the ice that interfere with the progress of the game, the Referee shall blow the whistle and stop the play and the puck shall be faced-off at a face-off spot in the zone nearest to the spot where play is stopped. When objects are thrown on the ice during a stoppage in play, including after the scoring of a goal, the Referee shall have announced over the public address system that any further occurrences will result in a bench minor penalty being assessed to the home Team. Articles thrown onto the ice following a special occasion (i.e. hat trick) will not result in a bench minor penalty being assessed.”

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