A stunning incident occurred during Saturday's IIHF World Championship game between Canada and Switzerland, as Detroit Red Wings and Team Canada forward Joe Veleno was shockingly not penalized for stomping on the foot of Switzerland captain Nino Niederreiter midway through the second period.
Niederreiter was the only player who was sent to the penalty box for roughing after he went after Veleno following the vicious play.
I’ve never seen anyone do this before, Joe Veleno stomping on Nino Niederreiter with his skate, WHAT pic.twitter.com/SFkZyIvqGd
— Alex Micheletti (@AlexMicheletti) May 20, 2023
The 30-year-old Winnipeg Jets forward was not at all happy with the play.
“The skate is very sharp,” Niederreiter told isport.blesk.cz after the game. “If you step on someone's foot, you can seriously injure them. This doesn't belong in hockey. I hope the IIHF does something about it and punishes it. Now it's up to them. It was exceptional and they should do something about it. The referees could have done a better job too.”
Needless to say, the uncalled, dangerous stomp was strongly condemned across social media on Saturday. Edmonton Oilers forward Evander Kane, for one, was extremely unhappy.
“This is why fighting in hockey is needed, it discourages ideas like this and helps police the game effectively,” he wrote on Twitter. “Disgusting play to watch. Especially after my injury this year. Embarrassing.”
He was not the only person who was livid at the play, with various accounts on social media expressing their distaste for Veleno's actions:
Nino Neiderreiter got a penalty here for roughing, but Joe Veleno got away with that stomp. The Swiss fans were furious.
You can't do that. #IIHFWorlds pic.twitter.com/g5NYvpNJRE
— Steven Ellis (@SEllisHockey) May 20, 2023
This is extremely dangerous from Joe Veleno. I’m not sure how stomping on an opponents leg crosses your mind, but this is ridiculous.
And he didn’t even get a penalty, Niederreiter was the only one because of the Veleno selljob. Canada scored on the same PowerPlay. pic.twitter.com/1O69mPTqmI
— Thomas Mercier 🎙️ (@TJM_PlayByPlay) May 20, 2023
That’s gross . Get Veleno out of there #IIHFWorlds pic.twitter.com/U2FiZlrqEa
— SchemingSparky (@ScumbagSparky) May 20, 2023
Far as I’m concerned: Joe Veleno should be done for the Worlds. pic.twitter.com/n5vyzNtqxu
— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) May 20, 2023
Ok, Joe Veleno, that was damned dirty. I hope you're benched and suspended, even if you're on my team. Shameful. #IIHFWorlds #TeamCanada
— Evaine 🇨🇦 (@MetEvaine) May 20, 2023
Seriously, Veleno needs to be suspended, that was not just dangerous, but unbelievably dirty. What the hell is wrong with that guy. Stupid penalty for Nino, but I'd be pissed as hell as well. #IIHFWorlds
— Sturmflut93 (@Sturmflut93) May 20, 2023
This is so incredibly dirty. Not only should it end Veleno’s Worlds tournament, but maybe be a multi-tournament ban for the intent.
Really lucky there’s no injury to Niederreiter. https://t.co/wmJZtlJozP
— Shayna (@hayyyshayyy) May 20, 2023
Joe Veleno is a scumbag. Doesn’t deserve to wear that Jersey
— That Svechy Guy (@unklebyra) May 20, 2023
It's unknown whether Veleno will be sanctioned by the International Ice Hockey Federation, but it seems increasingly likely that he will be suspended for at least a game for his actions.
“Anytime you get a chance to represent the Maple Leaf for us Canadians, it's a huge honor,” Joe Veleno said after being selected to Team Canada. “It's always a pleasure and anytime I can get that opportunity, more often than not I'll take those tournaments.”
Unfortunately, he didn't bring any honor to Canada or the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, and there's a good chance he won't be playing again in the 2023 IIHF World Hockey Championship.