Milton Keynes' Matt Nickerson sacked after punching a fan

Ice hockey player banned for punching fan

Milton Keynes Lightning ice hockey player Matt Nickerson has been sacked by the club after being banned for 20 games for punching a fan and abusing an official.

The incident happened after Sunday's Elite League match against Guildford.

The club sayexternal-link that they have parted company with the 33-year-old American defenceman.

"It is unacceptable that at any time supporters are threatened or made to feel unsafe," said a statement.

"As a club we do not condone what happened and Matt has been held accountable for his actions by both the Elite League Department of Player Safety (DOPS) and by the club.

"Milton Keynes Lightning takes the safety of their players, opposing players and most importantly the spectators very seriously, and the League needs to ensure that all member clubs are compliant in their player and spectator safety procedures."

According to the League's report into the incident,external-link Nickerson "delivered a forceful backhand punch directly to the head of an unsuspecting fan".

It added: "Nickerson left the players' bench for the purpose of engaging in a physical altercation with an opposing player.

"He physically broke free of the linesman to try to engage an opposing player on multiple occasions.

"While leaving the playing surface, Nickerson took his stick and moved it from his right hand to his left hand. It is an indication that there is premeditated thought on Nickerson's part to do something physical."

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