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MINOR LEAGUE HITS PLAYER BACK

Justin McPolin of the Jacksonville Lizard Kings was suspended for 35 games by the East Coast Hockey League for punching an official.

The league said McPolin, a left wing, used "excessive force towards an on-ice official in the face" in the Lizard Kings' game Nov. 20 against New Orleans.

"In my involvement in ice hockey and it's been at all levels, I haven't seen anything as bad and as flagrant as that," said New Orleans head coach Ted Sator, former Buffalo Sabres coach. "It even shocked our fans."

Sator said the incident started when the on-ice officials tried to break up a fight involving McPolin.

"Not only did he manhandle the linesman, he attempted to head-butt him and then he punched him," Sator said.

Even Jacksonville general manager Shawn Hegan didn't defend his own player.

"If you saw the tape, it's very obvious. He lost it," Hegan said. "We're not going to argue at all what the league handed down on this one."

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