MONTREAL - Young hockey players in Quebec are going to think twice about using their hockey gloves as boxing gloves in the wake of strict new penalties announced Wednesday to curb on-ice violence.
Hockey Quebec is targeting unsportsmanlike behaviour such as fighting, checking the back of the head and verbal abuse in the minor leagues.
Players who fight, instigate, or jump into an on-ice brawl as a third combattant will be suspended for two games on a first offence. A second offence puts the player out for four games and means a trip before a disciplinary committee.
A third offence means an indefinite suspension.
If the fight happens in the last five minutes of play or overtime, the players involved will be penalized an additional game and their coaches will also be suspended for one game.
A variety of other penalties and suspensions were also laid out Wednesday by Hockey Quebec in the case of other offences.
Penalties will increase in the cases of repeat offenders.
Provincial Sports Minister Michelle Courchesne praised the new sanctions, which came about after she issued a call for tougher stands against hockey violence.
The call came last spring after a brawl during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff game between the Quebec City Remparts and the Chicoutimi Sagueneens.
Quebec City player Jonathan Roy, the son of NHL legend Patrick Roy who is now the coach of the Remparts, has been charged with assault in the incident.
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is to announce its position on new rules in the coming days.