Canadian forward Veleno given five-game suspension at world hockey championship

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RIGA, Latvia — Canadian forward Joe Veleno was given a five-game suspension Sunday for stomping on the leg of an opponent at the world hockey championship.

The International Ice Hockey Federation's disciplinary panel ruled he violated Rule No. 49 (kicking) in Canada's 3-2 loss to Switzerland on Saturday.

"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," Canada general manager Doug Armstrong said in a statement.

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Veleno used his right leg to stomp on the shin of Swiss captain Nino Niederreiter as they battled for the puck along the boards.

The six-foot-one, 205-pound forward was not penalized on the play. Niederreiter did not appear to be hurt.

“I have been notified of the five-game suspension imposed by the IIHF for my actions in our game against Switzerland," Veleno said in a statement. "I accept the sanction from the IIHF and apologize for my actions."

Canada has group play games set for Monday against Norway and Tuesday against Czechia. The knockout stage begins Thursday.

Veleno's ban would include the quarterfinal, semifinal and final games should Canada make it that far in the tournament.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press