May 11, 2006

Italy’s Iob suspended from worlds for fighting

By Steve Keating

RIGA (Reuters) - 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 (IIHF) hit Iob with
a three-match 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.

Klymenitiev has been handed a two-game ban while 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


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 Turin Olympics getting two goals and two assists.

The IIHF also announced that 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 got a one-game ban for a dangerous hit from behind.