NHLPA president Bernie Nicholls says he thinks players who are hit with a four-game suspension should be given the chance to appeal their suspensions.
Nicholls spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday, hours after the NHL issued a four game suspension to defenseman Travis Hamonic.
The NHL’s decision came after Hamonic was found guilty on four counts of boarding and one of illegal check, among other charges.
Nicholl said he wants players to be allowed to appeal the suspensions and if they want to appeal, they should have the right to do so.
Nichols, who is also the president of the National Hockey Players Association, said the suspensions have been a “distraction” to the game.
“It’s time for players to get back to work,” Nicholls said.
“We’re working on it, we’re working to get a deal done.”
He said it’s time players were allowed to make an argument for why they shouldn’t have to sit out games, rather than waiting for the suspension to expire.
“That’s a lot more appealing,” Nicholl said.
The league has not announced the appeal process for Hamonic’s suspension.
The suspension is in place because of the league’s decision to suspend him for an illegal check to the head of a teammate.
Nicholas said he thinks it’s an unfair punishment to punish players for taking part in illegal plays.
“I think they’ve been given an opportunity to make their case and get the suspension lifted,” Nicholes said.
“The suspensions have taken a lot of the focus off of the game and it’s not been the focus of this lockout.”
The NHL and union have been in talks for several weeks to end the lockout.