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Belak Suspended By NHL

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

by NHL Media Relations

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.

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