Don Henderson, the linesman hit from behind by Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman in January, will miss the rest of the NHL season as he recovers from a concussion, the NHL Officials Association announced on Saturday.
Wideman’s 20-game suspension was reduced to 10 on Friday by an independent arbitrator. In a statement to the Associated Press, the NHLOA noted that it “strongly disagrees” with that decision. Wideman has been reinstated and is eligible to play, after his suspension appeal was initially upheld by commissioner Gary Bettman.
“The message in reducing the suspension that is sent to NHL players, as well as athletes all over the world, including children, is that the code of conduct towards officials has changed," the NHLOA said in a statement, and added that it hops to take steps to better protect its officials from these sorts of incidents in the future.
In a separate statement released Friday, NHL officials said they “strenuously disagree with the Arbitrator’s ruling and are reviewing the Opinion in detail to determine what next steps may be appropriate.”