Sheffield Steelers: Praise for character of teen Jordan Griffin after ‘beating’ in friendly
Sheffield Steelers' coach Aaron Fox has praised the character and guts of 17-year-old Jordan Griffin, who suffered facial wounds in a beating at the hands of a former Slovakian international last weekend.
And Fox has admitted the start of the incident was stirred up by Griffin's team-mate, Cole Shudra, saying that player was now apologetic for his part in it.
Shudra now had to ‘look himself in the mirror.’
Griffin suffered a broken tooth and cuts to the face as Saturday's match with HK Poprad drew to a close.
He was pummelled by Lukas Paukovcek, who is 11 years his senior.
The injuries to the teenager, who wears a protective face mask, concerned many in the iceSheffield crowd.
Fox said that in normal circumstances the attack would be deemed indefensible.
"But to be fair, that situation started with Cole cross-checking a player in the face right in front of their bench," the coach admitted.
"And then a little bit of a scuffle ensued and Griff went into the pile.
"When things get heated and emotions run high you are not really thinking properly...a kid that is only 16 or 17 years old pushing and shoving leads to punching and obviously Griff took the brunt of it.
"It wasn't a great situation, but at the end of the day I had a good chat with Griff and we all understand it's hockey and when you are playing at this level it's a man's game.
"And if you are going to put yourselves in certain situations then unfortunately this type of stuff happens."
Fox said Griffin ‘handled it like a true pro.’
"He'd had a tooth chipped had it fixed (five hours before the return match face off on Sunday) and was ready to go and excited to play.
"It shows a lot about his character. And he was in on a couple more scuffles so I don't think it fazed him very much.
"It is a physical game and a violent sport and sometimes emotions run high but unfortunately I think we started that one."
Fox said he and Shudra "had a chat, obviously he was apologetic."
The coach said the 21-year-old was making sure ‘his presence was felt.’
"He is one of those guys who is fighting for some ice time; maybe he is showing he can play that kind of role for me and I don't have any issue for that but it is your own team mates that you are putting in the line of fire sometimes and I think he has to look himself in the mirror."
There would be more "ups and downs, bumps and bruises" as the team head into the 2019-20 season, he said, adding that it was pleasing that team-mates would be sticking up for each other.
*Griffin, himself, made light of the attack, minutes after it happened. He quipped that he need not have worn braces in his younger days!”