The American Hockey League felt the need to clarify a few things recently. After the Stockton Thunder reported that the Oilers/Barons were sending the suspended Kristians Pelss to Oklahoma City, twitter took a turn towards the skeptical. Even I was caught in the wave of speculation on how a 21-game suspended ECHL player could possibly play immediately for an AHL team. That same night of the announcement, Coach Nelson confirmed that Pelss presence was merely for practice reasons. The team would honor the suspension, and his eligibility to play would be in-step with the ECHL’s ruling. That’s fine. It’s weird to recall him for practice purposes only, but to each his own.
The AHL PR twitter account trolled the chatter of fans, both of OKC and Edmonton and said this:
— AHL Communications (@AHLPR) December 11, 201
Then, yesterday, we get an official statement from the AHL offices via email:
The American Hockey League today announced that Oklahoma City Barons left wing Kristians Pelss has been ruled ineligible to play in the AHL until Jan. 11, 2013.
Pelss was suspended by the ECHL for 21 games as a result of a slashing incident during a game on Dec. 1.
Per the American Hockey League’s by-laws, a player who is under suspension in another league or organization who seeks to play in the AHL while under that suspension will have the relevant disciplinary matter independently reviewed by the President of the American Hockey League, who may in his discretion deem the player ineligible.
Pelss will be eligible to play for Oklahoma City beginning with their game on Jan. 11 vs. Charlotte.
I’m flattered that the league would feel this was an important bit of rules to clarify. But it highlights another problem, and that’s the availability of by-laws that have big implications within season rulings — including suspensions.