The Department of Player Safety is an independent body appointed by the eleven Elite League teams to control the disciplinary process in the league.
DOPS is run by former NHL linesman Lyle Seitz and the Player Safety Committee (PSC).
DOPS review all Major penalties automatically (not including Fighting), along with any incidents of body contact resulting in an injury. DOPS will also review any incidents submitted at the request of an EIHL club.
Once an incident has been reviewed, the affected Elite League clubs are notified of DOPS decision along with any supplementary discipline that has been assessed.
DOPS is entirely independent of the EIHL Board, so there is no chance decisions can be influenced.
DOPS will automatically review the following situations that occur within any EIHL sanctioned game;
- All Match penalties.
- All Major and Game Misconduct penalties (not including Fighting).
- All Checking to the Head or Checking from Behind penalties.
- All Misconducts and Game Misconducts.
- Abuse of Official penalties.
- Any ‘extraordinary situations’ (before, during or after the game) that are reported by the Match Night Officiating Team.
- All injury situations regardless of on-ice call.
Any incident in the game that they feel is worth further discipline, whether a minor or major penalty has been assessed or not.
For this to happen the requesting club must pay a fee which is refunded if their review is successful.
They then must make their representations in writing to the Department of Player Safety with all relevant supporting evidence.
For all games, requests for review must be made no later than 10am the following day for DOPS to consider the case – for example, a team wishing to request a review following a Saturday game must submit their request by no later than 10am on Sunday.
The affected teams have until 11am to send any statement or any additional supporting evidence to the DOPS email address after notification of investigations.
Any requests or evidence after this time will not be considered.
Notification to clubs
DOPS will liaise with all affected clubs as soon as an automatic review is triggered or a requested review is received.
Once the review has taken place, DOPS release information relating to all reviews that have been undertaken to all clubs.
DOPS will then liaise with the EIHL Media team to release the information publicly.
Any review which takes place following games on either a Friday night or Saturday night which result in a suspension will see a note advising of that suspension posted on the Elite League website and Facebook page, and Elite League Department of Player Safety Twitter account (@eihldops) the following day.
This is to ensure all parties – including our fans and media partners – are kept informed of any suspensions before the affected team plays its next game.
A full explanation, including video, will still be released to expand on the decision on the following Monday.
For reviews which take place following Sunday games or mid-week games, DOPS will release information pertaining to those reviews within 72-hours of the game’s completion.
Yes, if the suspension is eight (8) games or more, then the club and player in question can request an appeal. To do this they must lodge an appeals fee with the league, which is refunded if the appeal is successful.
A ban of seven (7) games or less cannot be appealed. This is a decision taken by the Elite League board because the appeals process can be both complex and expensive. This was agreed by all 12 teams making up the board.
Late provision of evidence
All teams ask DOPS to make the decision with the information they have in front of them prior to the deadlines. To consider evidence later sets a precedent, which could allow teams to withhold information until the last possible moment to gain an advantage. All clubs agree that it is crucial the deadlines are kept by all parties.
Social media fines
Social media fines are now handled by the Elite League management committee.
This covers all players, coaches and club representatives and encompasses social media infringements and other media items, such as interviews with third parties (for example newspapers), should any player, coach or other club representative chose to go outside of the media guidelines set by the league.
This is monitored by the EIHL media department, with any infringements report to the Elite League management committee for deliberation.
Anything to add?
DOPS was appointed by the eleven Elite League clubs to try and follow the route of the NHL in keeping the players safe whilst on the ice. Dangerous hits to the head, neck and back are something the EIHL is keen to cut out. Player injuries from these incidents mean teams can’t put their strongest side out on the ice, so there needs to be a deterrent and that is where DOPS comes in.
Owners, fans, players, coaches and DOPS all want to see full rosters playing every night, but not at the expense of player safety or the rules of the game. It is always worth asking the question, did the player need to do that? Most of the time the answer is no.