Britain's Elite Ice Hockey League has overturned the match penalty given to Tom Sestito for a check-to-the-head Sunday against the Hull Stingrays. The league said in reversing their decision that Sestito's check was clearly to the body of Stingrays forward Andy Ward and not the head, as originally stated.
Sestito had been given an automatic three-game ban for the incident, but he'll now be eligible to play for the Sheffield Steelers in their next game Friday against Belfast. The full league statement:
The Rapid Solicitors Elite League disciplinary committee has reviewed the incident involving Sheffield Steelers forward Tom Sestito in the match against Hull Stingrays at Ice Sheffield on Sunday 21st October 2012
Sestito was assessed a match penalty for checking to the head at 23:19. After an extensive review, including slow-motion replays and reports from the matchnight officials, the committee has revoked the penalty and this will be removed from Sestito's record.
Head of discipline Simon Kirkham said: "It is a very strong hit, which caused an unfortunate injury to Hull's Andy Ward and we wish him a speedy recovery.
"The video clearly shows the point of contact is to the body and not to his head.
"It is therefore a legal hit and no further action will be taken and the checking-to-the-head penalty will be removed from Sestito's record."
You can see the video above. From the two angles shown, I'm not sure anybody can say the video "clearly" shows anything. Sestito's a big dude and his body completely obscures the camera's view of the point of contact on angle one. It's tough to tell with any certainty in angle two as well, even when things are slowed down.
We have this argument in the NHL all the time: If there was no contact to the head, how does a player go unconscious and suffer a concussion? Is it just the result of the subsequent contact with the glass? You can be the judge for yourself on this one.