Just when you think things couldn't get any worse for the Smoke Eaters, they just have. The BCHL has suspended Charlie Zuccarini for the remainder of the 2014-15 BCHL season and playoffs for receiving a Match Penalty for Abuse of Official.
At 16:49 of the third period in the game against Coquitlam Express on the weekend Charlie was issued a match penalty for slashing the wrist of the referee Kirk Wood. Charlie took responsibility for his actions and did not question that he was in the wrong. A hearing was held with BCHL officials, Zuccarini and representatives of the the Trail Smoke Eaters on January 27. The BCHL indicated that officials are part of the playing surface and unfortunately come into contact with players as well as the puck from time to time. Players have no reason nor business intentionally making contact with an official in an agressive manner and especially using their hockey stick. An abuse of official whether verbal or physical is unacceptable and not tolerated in the BCHL. Charlie crossed the line when he used his stick intentionally to contact Kirk Wood.
Charlie was frustrated over a non-call by the official and unfortunately overreacted in the heat of the moment. The Smoke Eater organization completely agree with the BCHL ruling, as our officials must be protected but, can also understand how in the heat of the moment a player can lose his discipline. They regret the loss of Charlie as he was one of the most dynamic players the Smoke Eaters had for quite some time.
Smoke Eater coach, Nick Deschenes, indicated, "It is a big blow to our organization to lose a player like Charlie for the remainder of the season. I can't comment on the severity of the suspension only to say that any physical abuse of officials in the BCHL is not tolerated. Hockey is a fast and intense game and in the heat of the moment players do things they regret. I believe this is one of those situations."
Charlie has committed to Arizona State for next season and the Smoke Eater orginazation wish him the best of luck in his NCAA career and thank him for his total committment to the team. We will miss his dynamic prescence on the ice.