Atlantic University Sport announced the suspensions after members of the Acadia Axemen and St. FX X-Men fought during a game in Wolfville, N.S., on Saturday. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)

Sport body suspends 15 players, both head coaches in wake of wild hockey brawl

HALIFAX — The body that oversees university sports in Atlantic Canada has suspended two head coaches and 15 players after an ugly hockey brawl that spread from the ice to both squad’s benches.

Atlantic University Sport announced the suspensions today after members of the Acadia Axemen and St. FX X-Men fought during a game in Wolfville, N.S., on Saturday.

Six Acadia players and nine from the X-Men were handed automatic suspensions ranging in length from two to five games and totalling 39 games.

The suspensions also apply to the two head coaches and are effective immediately.

AUS executive director Phil Currie has also filed official complaints on five athletes and three coaches involved in Saturday’s incident after reviewing video evidence.

That means they will be subject to a secondary review process, which will involve the AUS sport chair “gathering additional evidence and speaking directly with players, officials and coaches involved to determine where more severe sanctions are warranted.”

It will also look into allegations the fight may have been sparked by a derogatory comment related to a sexual assault survivor that was made to an X-Men player.

The fight occurred in the third period of the game, leading to the ejection of five Axemen players, eight X-Men and both head coaches.

Videos posted to social media show players on both teams hurling profanities, striking each other and grabbing each other’s jerseys near the Acadia bench during the brawl.

On Monday, St. FX issued a statement alleging the brawl was instigated by a derogatory comment related to a sexual assault survivor that was made to an X-Men player. A few hours later, Acadia issued its own statement, saying the information it had gathered was not consistent with allegations made by St. FX.

Acadia is scheduled to play at Saint Mary’s University tonight, while St. FX is set to return to action Friday at the University of New Brunswick.

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