The NHL lost its appeal of a neutral arbitrator's ruling that Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman's (6) 20-game suspension for assaulted linesman Don Henderson in a Jan. 27, 2016, game be reduced to 10 games. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
The NHL lost its appeal of a neutral arbitrator's ruling that Calgary Flames defenseman Dennis Wideman's 20-game suspension for assaulted linesman Don Henderson in a Jan. 27, 2016, game be reduced to 10 games.
The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York issued the ruling Wednesday.
"We obviously disagree with the court's decision today, but also recognize the very high judicial standard we needed to meet to disturb the arbitrator's decision," the NHL said in a statement released Wednesday night. "While we believe we met that standard, we are prepared to turn the page and move on. We are hopeful that, if and when there is next an appeal proceeding involving supplementary discipline, the Neutral Discipline Arbitrator will properly apply the standard of review we and the NHLPA negotiated and agreed to in collective bargaining. That was clearly not done in this case."
The 20-game suspension came after Wideman cross-checked Henderson on his way to the bench after taking a hit.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman upheld the ban after Wideman appealed and the NHL Players Association appealed to a neutral arbitrator, arguing that Wideman had been concussed on a hit right before the incident.
After the suspension was reduced from 20 to 10 games, the NHL took the Players Association to court to have the ruling reinstated and fired the neutral arbitrator, James Oldham, last summer.
The NHLPA countered by asking that the case be tossed out, which was denied, although Oldham's decision was upheld.