RIGA, Latvia -- Italy's Tony Iob was suspended from the world ice hockey championships on Thursday for his part in a fight near the end of a preliminary round game against Ukraine.
The International Ice Hockey Federation hit Iob with
a three-game ban, effectively ending his world championships,
for attacking Ukraine's Sergi Klymenitiev in the corridor of
Skonto Arena after they were ejected from Wednesday's game.
Klymentiev has been handed a two-game ban but the Ukrainian
federation has already lodged an appeal against the punishment.
"I was told that we have appealed the suspension,"
defenseman Klymentiev, who plays for Russian Superleague
champions AK Bars Kazan, told reporters before sitting out
Thursday's game against Russia.
"I still don't understand why they have suspended me," he
said. "The guy [Iob] hit me from behind and I didn't even get a
chance to hit back as police and off-ice officials jumped in and
pulled him back."
The IIHF said Iob faces possible further sanctions.
The Italian was suspended from the 2002 world championships
in Sweden for elbowing a Swiss player in the head, knocking him
unconscious, and was later banned from the 2003 worlds.
Canadian-born Iob, a ninth round Buffalo Sabres draft pick
in 1991, has been involved in a long list of disturbing episodes
throughout a career spent primarily in European leagues.
The most bizarre incident occurred in the 1994 Italian
league season when Iob picked up a lighter from the debris
thrown on the ice during a bench clearing brawl and grabbed an
opponent's jersey before attempting to set him on fire.
During his junior hockey career, Iob was charged for assault
with a weapon after a fan was hit with a stick near the penalty
box during a game.
"We suspended him in 2002 and it carried over to 2003," said
IIHF spokesman Szymon Szemberg. "Here he is suspended for the
rest of the tournament and this could be brought up again at the
IIHF council meeting at the end of the championships.
"The suspensions were decided late last night and he is
finished here. You can't take a decision [on] a player's future
career quickly and everyone agreed."
Iob has spent the last three seasons with Klagenfurter AC
and is among the Austrian league's top scorers. He played for
Italy at the Torino Olympics getting two goals and two assists.
The IIHF also said Russia's Kirill Koltsov would receive a
one-game suspension for making physical contact with a referee
in Wednesday's game against Slovakia while Belarus's Uladzimir
Denisov got a one-game ban for a dangerous hit from behind.