On Friday afternoon, APK Director Stanislav Šulc made a much anticipated ruling regarding the use of improperly registered players: BK Mladá Boleslav, HC Plzeň 1929, and HC Vagnerplast Kladno lose 22, 19, and 6 points in the standings, respectively. All other statistics (wins, goals, et cetera) and the point totals of other teams remain unchanged.
This means that Plzeň drops from seventh place to 12th and Mladá Boleslav from ninth to 14th and last, while Kladno actually climbs out of the basement and into 13th place, one point ahead of Boleslav. The top 10 teams qualify for the playoffs.
The saga began November 2, when news of improprieties in the registration of certain players first came out. The APK soon revealed that Boleslav's Jiří Marušák and Tomáš Divíšek, Plzeň's Petr Přikryl and Tomáš Frolo, and Kladno's Jindřich Kotrla had not been registered properly with the Czech Ice Hockey Association.
At the time, Šulc stated that he saw no possible solution other than forfeiture of the affected matches in which these players participated. Mladá Boleslav and Plzeň requested a period of 10 days to find another solution, but today's ruling should have come as no surprise to anybody.
The affected games were not ruled to be complete forfeits, in that the opposing teams do not gain any points and all statistical information pertaining to the matches remains unchanged. In explaining his ruling, Šulc reasoned, "Although it affects the culprits and punishes them, it has the least affect on the rest of the competition."
The Plzeň and Boleslav clubs have fought this process from the beginning, and indications are that they don't intend to give up now.
On his club's website, www.hcplzen.cz, team captain and General Manager Martin Straka asked fans not to overreact to this ruling and to leave it to the team's management to deal with this situation. He went on to say, "This is just a different interpretation of standards and the club is determined to defend our interpretation by all legal means."
Meanwhile, at www.bkboleslav.cz, Mladá Boleslav General Manager Cyril Suk states, "As a club, we disagree with the verdict. We think that this decision does not comply with the regulations of the hockey league. Now, we will consider further steps to proceed."