A Swedish hockey player has received a two-year ban from all sports as a result of a vicious attack in a game earlier this month.
And he might have gotten off easy.
Viktor Thomasson, a 23-year-old defenseman playing for Nacka of Sweden’s second division, was handed the maximum sentence allowed under Swedish Ice Hockey Federation rules on Friday after skating half the length of the ice to deliver a crosscheck to the head of Balsta HC forward Tommy Latouche-Gauvin on March 9.
The stunning assault came in retaliation after Latouche-Gauvin got tangled up with Thomasson’s brother, Daniel, just inside the Balsta zone. Both players were sent sprawling by the collision, with Latouche-Gauvin remaining on his knees. Viktor Thomasson, who was still inside his own zone when the collision took place, raced down the ice at full speed before blindsiding his defenseless opponent.
Latouche-Gauvin suffered neck pain as a result of the attack but was not seriously hurt.
“[Viktor] is very remorseful,” said Nacka coach Håkan Ferm. “He has a certain style of play and it happens sometimes that it crosses the line. But he is very sorry that he might have injured another player, and that he hurt our team as well.”
Thomasson is expected to appeal the sentence.
“He knows he made a big foul, but he should still be allowed to do other things,” said team official Leif Halvorson.
There was early speculation that criminal charges might also be filed, but that hasn’t happened to date.