UPDATE: Stefan Noesen Ruled Ineligible for WJC by IIHF

Stefan Noesen tweeted this morning that he is leaving Team USA’s camp.  It appears the IIHF has ruled him ineligible for the 2013 World Junior Championship due to his still outstanding 10-game suspension in the Ontario Hockey League. USA Hockey has not officially commented on Noesen’s status yet.

UPDATED: USA Hockey has officially announced that the IIHF has ruled Noesen ineligible for the 2013 World Junior Championship.

From USA Hockey:

Noesen, who plays for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, was suspended for 10 games by the OHL for a hit in a game on Dec. 8. The IIHF recognizes suspensions from certified leagues in member federations and because there will be seven games remaining in Noesen’s suspension prior to the start of the IIHF World Junior Championship, Noesen will not be eligible for participate in the tournament.

“While we respect the IIHF’s decision, we don’t feel the process is equitable,” said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. “Moving forward, we’ll work with the IIHF and other federations to address the situation.”

Noesen was suspended for what the OHL deemed an illegal hit on Dec. 8. He is eligible to return to OHL play on Jan. 11. As a result, via IIHF By-Law 302, Noesen would have had to miss the majority of Team USA’s games at the WJC as the rule states: “Player suspensions will apply to participation in both ice hockey and In-line hockey competitions irrespective of the competition in which the offence giving rise to the suspension occurred.”

Team USA Jim Johannson told reporters yesterday, “We’re working on it as best we can. It takes a lot of communication with a lot of people right now. It’s a little bit of uncharted territory for everybody. All I can say is I’m working on it as hard as I can. And I’ve been happy with the cooperation but it’s a difficult position for everybody and everyone involved is giving it the right diligence right now.”

The IIHF does review all suspensions and can make decisions on eligibility independent of the suspension levied from an outside league. It appears the organization felt comfortable with the length as decided by the OHL.

More than anything else, it’s bad timing. Canada’s Jonathan Huberdreau received a four game suspension from the QMJHL just last week. However, even though Huberdeau wouldn’t have played in the games anyway, his Saint John Sea Dogs will have played enough games to forgive the suspension before the World Juniors, at least in the eyes of the IIHF. Noesen’s Plymouth Whalers would not have, leaving about four or five games seven games left to serve, which is why he’s out.

Now the U.S. will be without a player who was expected to play a sizable role, probably top-six. Noesen’s size and scoring ability will be tough for Team USA to replace adequately, but the door opens wider for guys like Ryan Hartman and Riley Barber to hop into a more established role.

Losing Noesen could change plans for how Team USA is built. There are four projected right wingers in camp (Hartman, Barber, Tyler Biggs and J.T. Miller), but natural center Rocco Grimaldi can also play on the right side. The U.S. will have some decisions to make as to which guys best fill the void left by Noesen.

For Noesen, it probably doesn’t get any tougher than this. This year is his last opportunity to play at the World Junior Championship after being in the mix last season, but ultimately not making the squad.

The OHL has been extraordinarily strict on perceived checks to the head, which is certainly a good thing, but had Noesen been playing in another league, it’s likely any suspension would have been shorter.

This series of circumstances now costs a young player an opportunity he’s been working for over the last few years. Participation in the World Juniors would not only be a great experience in itself, but there are many developmental advantages to playing in the tournament, too. Now Noesen doesn’t get the chance because of a split-second decision.

It’s certainly unfortunate for the team, but more so for the player. The hit warranted a suspension, but it probably didn’t warrant costing Noesen his shot at the World Juniors.

About Chris Peters

Editor of The United States of Hockey. Contributor to CBSSports.com, USA Hockey Magazine and more. Former USA Hockey PR guy. Current Iowan.
This entry was posted in American Prospects, Junior Hockey, NHL, U.S. National Teams, USA Hockey, World Junior Championship. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to UPDATE: Stefan Noesen Ruled Ineligible for WJC by IIHF

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is a brutal decision. OHL hands out the most lengthy suspensions compared to other CHL Leagues. What about Canada’s Huberdeau who has a four game suspension?

  2. Anonymous says:

    “This series of circumstances now costs a young player an opportunity he’s been working for over the last few years” a Series of Circumstances? really? the kid left his feet, injured another player who has been also working very hard to get to where he is at this point in his career, and now has to hang up his equipment for several weeks. What about him??
    YOU DO THE CRIME…. YOU DO THE TIME !!!!

    • Chris Peters says:

      He’d have to do the time in the league in which he committed the offense. The OHL could have chosen to defer the remainder of his suspension to after he returns from the WJC. No argument from me that the hit warranted a suspension, but the World Juniors is not the OHL. Ruling a player ineligible for an event that is unrelated to his infraction is where I have a problem. If this same hit happened a week or two earlier, the IIHF pays no attention to it, but since it happened before the tournament and Noesen’s team happens to not have enough games to tick the time off the suspension, he’s out. That’s where it makes less sense to me and goes above and beyond an appropriate punishment.

    • dc says:

      You’re right. He did the crime and should do the time.

      However, I can’t shake the belief that, all other things being equal, if Noesen were playing for Canada, and especially, for the U.S., we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

      Last year, with the Canes’ season obviously going down the drain, they just couldn’t release Faulk for the tournament, even though the Ducks, in a similar situation, were okay with letting some of theirs’ go to Team Canada.
      This year, the Canadiens have said that if the season starts while the WJC is going on, even if it’s only for training camp, Galchenyuk would not be released.

      If Noesen were an integral part of Team Canada, calls would have been made. Accommodations would have reached.

      Hmm.

      • dc says:

        You’re right. He did the crime and should do the time.

        However, I can’t shake the belief that, all other things being equal, if Noesen were playing for Canada, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. (Corrected)

        Last year, with the Canes’ season obviously going down the drain, they just couldn’t release Faulk for the tournament, even though the Ducks, in a similar situation, were okay with letting some of theirs’ go to Team Canada.
        This year, the Canadiens have said that if the season starts while the WJC is going on, even if it’s only for training camp, Galchenyuk would not be released.

        If Noesen were an integral part of Team Canada, calls would have been made. Accommodations would have reached.

        Hmm.

  3. Sherrie says:

    The Plymouth Whalers are my team’s arch rival, and there is no love lost there. I applaud the OHL in taking a firm stand on head checks, and agree the play deserved a suspension. But having said that—-Noesen is far from a goon. I’m not even sure if he has ever been suspended before. It seems very unreasonable that a compromise couldn’t have been worked out in which Noesen serves his suspension in OHL games and not WJC games. To rob Noesen of his last chance to play in WJ competition seems like a very, very harsh way to deal with this.

  4. OHL fan says:

    I agree that Noesen should serve a suspension for that hit. The CHL needs a rule change. Any kid that gets a suspension must be in the building for that game to count as a suspended game. This would eliminate the Huberdeau issue of him getting suspended and leaving for camp and really not serving any of his suspension. In this scenario, Noesen serves his 3 before the tourney, plays, and serves the other 7 upon his return to his team.. and is in the building. The way it currently plays out, Noesen actually serves up to 18-20 games for that hit. Noesen has never been suspended before.

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