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.
“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.”
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.