Bowen Byram receives suspension for slash on Jesse Puljujarvi.

Bowen Byram receives suspension for slash on Jesse Puljujarvi.

Bowen Byram has received a suspension at the World Championship over a controversial incident.

Jonathan Larivee

A controversial moment at the International Ice Hockey Federation's World championship of hockey has just become even more controversial.

There was outrage on social media Saturday after Canadian defenseman Bowen Byram was assessed a 5 minute major and ejected from the game after he delivered a low blow to Finland's Jesse Puljujarvi in front of the Canadian net.

Now there's no question that Byram hit Puljujarvi low, but the controversy stems from the fact that Byram's low blow appeared to be retaliatory in nature, with Puljujarvi "cup checking" the Canadian defenseman just moments before Byram retaliated with a "cup check" of his own.

In spite of the trading of blows, as is often the case in hockey the player who retaliates is the one who gets caught by the officials which resulted in Byram being awarded a 5 minute major and being tossed from the game. Puljujarvi on the other hand only received a 2 minute minor penalty, and you can now begin to see what fanned the flames of outrage.

As I mentioned at the beginning of the article that controversy has now been amplified with Byram receiving an additional round of discipline from the IIHF in the form of 1 game suspension at the tournament. Byram has been suspended under Official Playing Rule 61, with the IIHF determining that the had delivered the blow with enough force to potentially injure Puljujarvi.

From the official ruling:

The Championship Disciplinary Panel determined the Player swung his stick into the groin area of FIN #13, with a degree of force which could have endangered FIN #13, therefore violated Official Playing Rule 61 (Slashing). Additionally, it was considered that the level of force used by the Player while not looking in the direction of where he was swinging his stick, heightens the level of recklessness displayed by the Player.

Again there is no question that Byram is guilty of the infraction and as per the rules of the IIHF his actions do warrant a suspension, but the circumstances of that incident likely mean there will be a lot of fans unhappy with this ruling.