Nick Ritchie throws punches at defenseless opponent in Finland
Photo credit: SM Liiga

Attack on Opponent Broke 'Code of Hockey' and Leads to Long Suspension for Former NHLer Nick Ritchie

Published December 29, 2023 at 4:41 PM
Perhaps he'll get the chance to chill out a bit over the next little while. Nick Ritchie, who played close to 500 games in the NHL before leaving for Finland at the start of the current season, has received his punishment for attacking an opponent on the ice. It's a big one.

Ritchie, who is currently playing for Karpat in the Finnish Elite League, will sit for the next eight games after knocking TPS's Markus Nurmi to the ice following a battle along the boards, and then punching him at least four times in the back of the head. There seemed to be no provocation for the attack other than Nurmi beating Ritchie in the puck battle.

It its ruling, SM-Liiga's Disciplinary Committee said there was simply no reason for Ritchie to react the way he did, and his actions broke hockey's "code."

"This action - hitting an opponent in the neck/head who does not know to expect the hit - is not only completely disrespectful to the opponent, but also goes against the so-called 'internal code of hockey'.

Another aggravating factor is the fact that Ritchie repeatedly continues to hit in a situation where the opponent is lying on the ice simply to protect himself from future blows."

Ritchie was the 10th overall pick of the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014 NHL draft. He also played for Boston, Toronto, Arizona and Calgary before signing in Finland for the 2023-24 year. Ritchie had no issue dropping the gloves in the NHL, being involved in at least 10 fights throughout his career. There is nothing in his NHL history that would indicate what happened in Finland was normal behaviour for him.
December 29   |   268 answers
Attack on Opponent Broke 'Code of Hockey' and Leads to Long Suspension for Former NHLer Nick Ritchie

Did the punishment fit the crime?

Yes9134 %
No, too short8632.1 %
No, too long6223.1 %
I'm not sure2910.8 %
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