You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

How NHL reviews controversial plays

The player safety division of the NHL examines questionable plays and determines if additional discipline is required. Here is the process that an incident like Shawn Thornton’s undergoes:


Game watchers collect all available footage of questionable plays. The senior VP of player safety confers with other officials. If the play is deemed legal, the inquiry is over. In 2011-12, 63 out of more than 800 reviews went on to a hearing.


Continue reading below

If the group decides suspension may be warranted, a hearing via telephone is arranged with the player. As in Thornton’s case, the player has a right to an in-person hearing if the possible suspension is six or more games. The player is suspended until that hearing.


Should senior safety officials deem suspension appropriate, they must determine the length of the suspension. Only now are a player’s prior history and any injury caused taken into account. Comparable plays and discipline assessed for those plays are also considered.


The NHL notifies the team’s general manager, the player, and the NHL Players Association of its decision. Once the appropriate parties are notified, a video explaining the reasoning behind the discipline is released.


Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of