TORONTO (March 22, 2004) -- Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wade Belak has been suspended for six regular season and two playoff games, without pay, for a high-sticking incident involving Colorado player Ossi Vaananen in NHL Game #1116 on March 20.
Belak, who was suspended for two games in November, 2002, is considered a repeat offender under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and forfeits salary based on the number of games in a season (82), rather than the number of days (180). He will forfeit $67,682.94. The money goes to the Players' Emergency Assistance Fund.
Belak was assessed a match penalty under Rule 43(a) - Attempt to Injure, after striking Vaananen in the head area with the shaft of his stick, at 11:10 of the second period.
"Mr. Belak used his stick in a careless, dangerous and unacceptable manner," said NHL Executive Vice President and Director of Hockey Operations Colin Campbell. "Players must be responsible for their sticks at all times, and blows with the stick to the head area will not be tolerated."
Belak will miss Toronto's remaining six regular season games; March 23 (vs. Tampa Bay), March 25 (at Boston), March 27 (vs. Ottawa), March 29 (vs. Atlanta), April 2 (at Buffalo) and March 3 (at Ottawa). He also will be ineligible for the first two games of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals.