I spoke today with the ECHL’s senior vice-president of hockey operations, Joe Ernst, about why he determined no punishment was warranted for Jacksonville’s Dajon Mingo in the wake of his check that knocked Fort Wayne’s leading scorer, Brady Shaw, out of the game Thursday.
Here are the big takeaways …
“Just from our end, I don’t care what player or team it is, we hate seeing kids get hurt,” Ernst said. “That’s first and foremost from our end of it. Suspension or no suspension, nobody wins when somebody gets hurt.”
Shaw is in concussion protocol after he was checked during overtime of the Komets’ 3-2 victory. He won’t play today and I don’t have an expected timeline for his return.
Video of the hit is in the package above this post.
Asked why this didn’t fall under Rule 48 for hits to the head, Ernst said: “The head in that situation wasn’t the main point of contact. I’m not going to say there wasn’t some contact with the head. But it wasn’t the significant part of the hit, or the main point of contact on the hit, so that’s where we determine on Rule 48 (regarding whether) the head was the main point of contact.”
Ernst noted that Shaw may have sustained some, or all, of his injury from his head hitting the ice.
“Everybody can debate (the hit),” Ernst said. “What’s great about the world is everybody has an opinion, which is perfectly fine. We deemed it was a legal body check from Dajon Mingo.”
Ernst said he got a second opinion from the NHL’s player safety department, which concurred the play was legal.
“Listen, it’s a hard hit,” Ernst said. “I’m not going to tell you it’s not a hard hit. We don’t want to take away hits, we want to take away dirty hits.”
Pressed on my feeling that Mingo extended his arms unnecessarily upward, Ernst said: “When you stop it right at impact, you see where Brady’s head and you see Mingo is not elevating upward or anything else. When players make hits, people don’t sometimes understand this, after the hit the arms will come up after the fact. It’s not so much that the arms were up and then he made the hit; because of momentum you’ll see hits where the arms come up after.”
Ernst compared the hit to one doled out by Fort Wayne’s Chase Stewart on Kalamazoo’s Brennan Sanford this season and said Stewart also led with his shoulder. On those hits, Ernst said, the player checked through the body without elevating.
Ernst also said that no review was asked for of Jason Binkley’s hit earlier in overtime. He also put the Komets and Icemen on notice that their actions in tonight’s game will be monitored.