By Ed Kimberley
On Tuesday the Hull Stingrays announced in a short press release that journeyman forward Derek Campbell would be released with immediate effect following receiving a 47 game ban for the following incident:
Now the camera angle isn’t very damning but the suspension is broken down as such:
Fighting off the ice = 15 games
Attempted eye gouge = 12 games
Knee to the head = 10 games
Excessive force to the head resulting in an impact to the ice = 10 games
I criticised Moray Hanson’s decision making as inconsistent but this, he has handled perfectly. It sends a clear message that this behaviour is totally unacceptable; ice hockey after all is portrayed as a family sport in the UK. Hopefully it will calm down the likes of Andrew Conboy in Cardiff who is currently still the league leading penalty minute taker and has been suspended for half the season so far.
This is the second longest ban in recent British hockey memory after Eric Cairns, formerly of the London Racers, received a 2 year ban for attacking a referee in the 04-05 playoffs. In a statement from head of discipline, Moray Hanson condemns Campbells conduct. “This is a very nasty incident and there is no place for any of these actions in our sport.” Campbell has since apologized for his conduct however I would be very surprised if this wasn’t the end of his illustrious EIHL career which has seen him lift back to back championships with the Coventry Blaze and the Sheffield Steelers in 2009-2010 and 2010-2011.
The Stingrays will no doubt be hurt losing a player of Campbells calibre as they try to improve their league record from its lowly 1-5 with the aim to no doubt make the playoffs. Campbell has his critics and some question his ability as well as his temper. However you cannot deny facts, he has been brought in by 5 different franchises in the EIHL and has been lured to the EPIHL (UK 2nd tier) by the Sheffield Steeldogs (as well as playing for the Manchester Phoenix again who dropped a league). He has iced in 346 EIHL games and has a .97 PPG average. Having seen him play and develop over the years, he is a ferocious player along the boards and one of the best to play EIHL hockey in this respect; his numbers don’t lie. For a tough guy expected to rack up a lot of PIMS he can play the game. I wrote an article for MarchHockey about tough guys in the EIHL and concluded they need to have more tools in the box than just being able to fight and before this incident Campbell was the poster boy for my opinion and even though his actions were deplorable, his legend will live on.