UFA, Russia -- Canada's chances for a gold medal at the 2014 world junior hockey championship could be affected by a four-game suspension to defenceman Griffin Reinhart.
The International Ice Hockey Federation reviewed a minor penalty to Reinhart for high-sticking U.S. forward Vince Trocheck in Thursday's semifinal and handed down supplementary discipline Friday after a hearing.
The Edmonton Oil Kings defenceman will miss Saturday's bronze-medal game against Russia. Reinhart must serve the remaining three games at his next IIHF event, which would be the next world junior championship.
Hockey Canada is appealing the suspension believed to be the longest in the tournament's history.
Reinhart, 18, is eligible to play for Canada again in 2014. The Canadian team will want his experience in their lineup in Malmo, Sweden.
What's more, should Reinhart play for the NHL's New York Islanders next season, the Islanders might not want to make Reinhart available to the Canadian team if he has to sit out three games.
"Especially playing against Russia tomorrow, I wanted to be a part of that game, the last game of the tournament, so it's really devastating for me," Reinhart said Friday after practice at Ufa Arena.
"That leads into next year too if I get the opportunity to play. I'd be a big part of next year's team hopefully and to be out for some of that as well, that's definitely a big loss."
Reinhart was guilty of carelessness with his stick and was lucky he didn't receive a double minor in the second period Thursday. But he didn't appear to deliberately swing his stick at Trochek's helmet.
"As I explained in my review today, as I was tripping I kind of lost balance and my stick rode up his stick and made accidental contact to the head," Reinhart explained. "The referees on the play thought it was a two-minute penalty, a two-minute minor, and I agreed with that.
"The suspension of four games is definitely a bit of a shock to me, but (there's) nothing I can do about right now."
Reinhart, 6-4 and 202 pounds, has 12 penalty minutes in 31 WHL games this season.
He's the third Canadian player to get suspended at the championship.
-- The Canadian Press