Red Wings: Joe Veleno’s stomp at World Championship inexcusable

(Photo by GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by GINTS IVUSKANS/AFP via Getty Images) /

Detroit Red Wings forward Joe Veleno found himself in headlines worldwide for all the wrong reasons.

Veleno, 23, a native of Montreal, is representing Team Canada at the IIHF World Championship. The youthful Detroit Red Wings center was a surprise selection to the team. Having Steve Yzerman working as the assistant general manager to St. Louis’ Doug Armstrong certainly played a role in the decision.

The fleet-footed Veleno made a significant mistake during a game against Switzerland. Veleno was battling with Swiss captain Nino Niederreiter during a scrum behind the Team Canada net. As the scrum continued, Veleno eventually stomped on the ankle of Niederreiter. There is no sugarcoating; it was a heinous, downright dangerous, and despicable act. The video below is indefensible.

Red Wings forward Joe Veleno made a colossal mistake at the World Championships.

The officials undetected the stomp, while an irate Niederreiter was penalized for his retaliation. Team Canada would score on the ensuing power play opportunity. The Swiss would go on to win the game 3-2. Again, there is nothing a player can say to justify a stomp, especially one with that kind of force. The odd thing about it, it was out of character. The bottom-six forward has never done anything comparable to this during his time with the Detroit Red Wings. He’s not considered to be a dirty player, but the world will undoubtedly have a different opinion now. The IIHF will rightfully suspend Veleno for his actions.

Here’s what Niederreiter had to say about the play following the game.

"“The skate is very sharp,” Niederreiter told “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.”"

Niederreiter also mentioned that Veleno tried to seek him out to apologize for the hideous act, but the veteran forward was still too steamed to discuss it. The Swiss captain said Veleno needs to grow up.

With the Detroit Red Wings this past season, Veleno recorded nine goals and 20 points over 81 games, averaging slightly under 13 minutes per game.

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Niederreiter, 30, is a 12-year NHL veteran coming off a 24-goal, 41-point campaign between Nashville and Winnipeg this past season. Niederreiter was drafted fifth overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Level Draft by the New York Islanders, where he spent the first two years of his career before moving on to Minnesota, Carolina, Nashville, and Winnipeg.