Pensacola, FL (incnow.tv)- The Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL) has suspended Pensacola Ice Flyers' defenseman Brad Cooper for two games and forward Leo Thomas for the balance of the 2012-13 regular season and playoffs. The suspensions arose from an incident involving fans that happened following the Ice Flyers' game versus the Louisiana IceGators on Friday, January 25 in Lafayette, LA.
While exiting the ice at the end of the game, Louisiana fans lined the barricade, provoked Cooper and initiated a confrontation as he walked past. Cooper approached the fan and as Thomas saw the interaction between his teammate and the Louisiana fans, Thomas came to the aid of his teammate.
"Leo has been a great captain and a leader on and off the ice all season," Ice Flyers head coach Gary Graham stated. "He made a split-second decision to defend his teammate and unfortunately the decision that the league handed down has cost Leo his season with the Ice Flyers. While we don't agree to the length of Leo's suspension, we have to respect the SPHL's decision. Our team will handle this loss of our captain the best way we know how to, and that is by putting it behind us, moving on and continuing to produce wins."
Cooper already served one game, on Saturday, January 26, and will miss Pensacola's home game on Friday, February 1. He will return to the Ice Flyers' lineup on Saturday, February 2.
"Cooper's suspension is also a tough one to accept, but he will serve his suspension, return to our lineup on Saturday and continue to be an impact player on our blue line," Graham commented.
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