The Longest NHL Suspensions in Hockey History

Raffi Torres, Todd Bertuzzi and the Rest of the Longest NHL Suspensions Ever

NHL hockey is known for its aggressive and high contact plays, but when that turns to violence or moves that put players or referees in danger, players often face suspension at the hands of the league. Starting with Billy Coutu, the only NHL player to be suspended from league play for life, here are the longest suspensions doled out in the history of the NHL.

Suspended for Life

After losing the Stanley Cup Final to the Ottawa Senators in 1927, Billy Coutu (captain of the Boston Bruins) assaulted two referees and started a brawl so severe that he was hit with a life ban from the NHL. Though the ban was ultimately lifted several years later, Coutu never played with the NHL again.

Suspended for 41 Games

Raffi Torres of the San Jose Sharks currently holds the record of longest NHL suspension with his 41 game suspension in 2015. The suspension was given for a hit on the Anaheim Ducks Jakob Silfverberg during a preseason game early that October.

Suspended for 30 Games 

Chris Simon of the New York Islanders, for stomping on the leg of Pittsburgh's Jarko Ruutu in December 2007. It is the seventh suspension of Simon's NHL career.

Suspended for 25 Games

In March 2007,  Chris Simon of the New York Islanders was suspended for the rest of the season (for a minimum of 25 games) for a slash to the face of the Rangers' Ryan Hollweg. Simon misses 15 regular season games plus all of the Islanders' playoff games. The suspension carries over to 2007-08 if necessary to meet the 25-game minimum.

Raffi Torres, who also holds the top spot for his 2015 suspension, was once suspended for 25 games in 2012 when he played for the Phoenix Coyotes. The suspension was for a hit on Chicago's Marian Hossa during Stanley Cup Playoffs in April 2012. "Torres launched himself to deliver a late, direct hit to the head," said NHL disciplinarian Brendan Shanahan, "It is clear (Torres) sees that Hossa is no longer in possession of the puck because Torres takes a one-handed swipe at it with his stick."

Jesse Boulerice of the Philadelphia Flyers was also suspended for 25 games for a crosscheck to the face of Vancouver's Ryan Kesler in October 2007.

Suspended for 23 Games

Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins was suspended for the rest of the season (for a total of 23 games) in March 2000 for knocking out Vancouver's Donald Brashear by swinging a stick at his head. 

Gordie Dwyer of the Tampa Bay Lightning was suspended for 23 games for abusing officials and leaving the penalty box to fight in a pre-season game against the Washington Capitals in September 2000.

Suspended for 21 Games

Dale Hunter of the Washington Capitals was suspended for 21 games for a hit on Pierre Turgeon of the New York Islanders while Turgeon celebrates a goal in the 1993 playoffs.

Suspended for 20 Games

Todd Bertuzzi of the Vancouver Canucks was suspended for the rest of the season (total of 20 games) for serious injuries sustained by Colorado's Steve Moore when Bertuzzi jumped him from behind in March 2004. Bertuzzi missed 13 regular season games, plus seven playoff games. His suspension was originally listed as indefinite, but the following season was canceled due to a labor dispute and he was allowed to return when the NHL resumed in the fall of 2005.

Steve Downie of the Philadelphia Flyers was suspended for deliberately targeting the head with a body check on Ottawa's Dean McAmmond in September 2007.

​​Tom Lysiak of the Chicago Blackhawks, was also suspended for 20 games for intentionally tripping a linesman in October 1983.

Brad May of the Phoenix Coyotes, faced a 20 game suspension for a slash to the head of Columbus' Steve Heinze in November 2000.

Suspended for 11-16 Games

Eddie Shore of the Boston Bruins was suspended for 16 games for hitting Toronto's Ace Bailey over the head with his stick in 1933.

Maurice Richard of the Montreal Canadiens was suspended for 3 regular season games and 12 playoff games (for a total of 15) for knocking down linesman Cliff Thompson during a scuffle with Boston's Hal Laycoe in March 1955.

Wilf Paiement of the Colorado Rockies faced a 15 game suspension for swinging his stick and hitting Detroit's Dennis Polonich in the face in October 1978.

Dave Brown of the Philadelphia Flyers also faced a 15 game suspension for cross-checking Tomas Sandstrom of the New York Rangers across the face and breaking his jaw in November 1987.

Tony Granato of the Los Angeles Kings was also suspended for 15 games for slashing Pittsburgh's Neil Wilkinson in February 1994.

Matt Cooke of the Pittsburgh Penguins was suspended for the rest of the season (which included 10 regular season games plus the playoffs) for an elbow to Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers in March 2011.

Wayne Maki of the St. Louis Blues and Ted Green of the Boston Bruins were both suspended for 13 games for swinging their sticks at each other in September 1969.

Andre Roy of the Tampa Bay Lightning lost out on 13 games for leaving the penalty box and physically abusing an official while trying to engage players in the New York Rangers' penalty box in April 2002.

Brantt Myhres of the San Jose Sharks missed 12 games for leaving the bench to attack Mattias Norstrom of the Los Angeles Kings in February 1999.

Matt Johnson of the Los Angeles Kings was also suspended for 12 games for deliberately injuring the New York Rangers' Jeff Beukeboom in November 1998. Beukeboom suffered a concussion and never played again.

Ron Hextall of the Philadelphia Flyers faced a 12 games suspension for attacking Montreal's Chris Chelios during a playoff game in May 1989.

David Shaw of the New York Rangers also face 12 games suspended for high-sticking Pittsburgh's Mario Lemieux in October 1988

Owen Nolan of the San Jose Sharks was suspended for 11 games for a hit to the head of the Dallas Stars' Grant Marshall in February 2001.

Tie Domi of the Toronto Maple Leafs was suspended for 3 playoff games and 8 regular season games (for a total of 11 games) for knocking out Scott Niedermayer with an elbow to the head during the 2001 playoffs. Domi was suspended for the balance of the playoffs and the first eight games of the following season.

Suspended for 10 Games

Jimmy Mann of the Winnipeg Jets was suspended for 10 games for sucker-punching Pittsburgh's Paul Gardner in January 1982.

Ruslan Salei of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks also faced a 10 game suspension for hitting Dallas' Mike Modano from behind in October 1999.

Scott Niedermayer of the New Jersey Devils was missed out on 10 games for hitting Florida's Peter Worrell in the head with his stick in March 2000.

Last, but not least, Trevor Gillies of the New York Islanders faced a 10 game suspension for hitting the head of Minnesota’s Cal Clutterbuck in March 2011.


Canadian Press