Factions loyal to John Parco and the Soo Thunderbirds have been critical of Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League commissioner Robert Mazzuca for a suspension that sidelined the Soo coach for Games 6 and 7 of the championship series against the Hearst Lumberjacks.
A number of e-mails sent to Hockey News North by supporters of the Thunderbirds noted that Mazzuca “over-reacted” and showed “poor and biased judgement” by suspending Parco for Games 6 and 7 of the series, which Hearst eventually won.
Well, it turns out that Mazzuca, as NOJHL commissioner, had absolutely no say in the automatic suspension, which came as the result of Parco being issued a GM62 by referee Darren Corcoran at the 20:00 minute mark of the third period of Game 5, which was played in Sault Ste. Marie and won by the Thunderbirds.
According to the 2018-2019 Ontario Hockey Federation “minimum suspension list” which applies to both the NOJHL and the Ontario Jr. Hockey League, the automatic penalty imposed on a coach receiving a GM62 is clearly stated.
And that is, players leaving the bench without clearance from the referee shall result in a two-game suspension being assessed to the coach.
In other words, when Parco was assessed the GM62 at the conclusion of Game 5 of the championship series — the infraction appears on the NOJHL Official Game Report — the two-game suspension became automatic under the Ontario Hockey Federation rule book.
PHOTO: Soo Thunderbirds head coach John Parco.