Although MHL president admits “Yarmouth was wronged”
FREDERICTON – The president of the Maritime Hockey League (MHL) says there is no doubt the Yarmouth Mariners were robbed of a win in a Jan. 18 game with the Summerside Capitals.
“At the end of the day Yarmouth was wronged, there is no question,” Derryl Smith told the Yarmouth Vanguard in a telephone interview from Fredericton on Wednesday.
“There was no goal,” he said, referring to the Summerside Capitals’ third goal of a shootout that pinged off the crossbar.
The shot was ruled a goal, although by then the Mariners and their fans were already celebrating the win and the three stars of the game had been named. Some players had even left the ice and had to be brought back to the player benches for the shootout to continue.
Summerside went on to win the shootout. The Mariners filed a protest with the league. Smith asked the team to submit a video. The Mariners provided video footage the team maintained proved Summerside had not scored in the shootout. (You can view the video on YouTube. At the time of this posting the video had been viewed more than 5,930 times.)
On Wednesday, Smith sent his ruling to Mariners president Mitch Bonnar, saying the on-ice decision of the night stands, meaning Summerside keeps the win and the two points.
Smith told the Vanguard he had no choice but to make this ruling because the league’s constitution doesn’t leave an opportunity for the league president to overrule a referee’s on-ice call. Smith even questioned whether teams would want to see this done, as it could lead to a never-ending situation of teams forever challenging goals.
“At the end of the day Yarmouth was wronged, there is no question. There was no goal.” MHL president Derryl Smith
Section 702.1 of the league’s bylaw states: Protests may only be made in regards to interpretations of rules, by-laws, regulations, rules of competition and constitutional matters, not in regard to the decision of a referee or linesman.
Still, Smith said his ruling about the game was not an easy one.
“It was the toughest one I ever had,” he said, given it was clear to him Summerside had not scored and the game should have ended with the Mariners’ win. He said he consulted with three counterparts across the country – one in the NHL, one in the Ontario Hockey League and one in the western league – as he contemplated the Mariners’ position.
“I know the referee made a mistake,” Smith said.
Mitch Bonnar, president of the Mariners, doesn’t buy it. He thinks the president still has the right to overrule a call, suggesting it’s been done before on suspensions.
Bonnar told the Vanguard he wouldn’t care if the league had decided to award both teams two points for the game.
Smith said giving both teams two points would have opened up a proverbial can of worms – you did it once before, you should do it again, teams might argue in the future if they disagreed with goal rulings.
The Mariners have 24 hours from the time of receiving the decision to decide if they want to appeal. Bonnar says the team is considering it.