The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has come down hard on Halifax Mooseheads forward Zachary L’Heureux after video surfaced of the 19-year-old spearing a fan repeatedly with his stick as he left the ice surface following a February 8 game in Gatineau, QUE.
Initially suspended indefinitely, the QMJHL announced this week that L’Heureux’s suspension would see the Nashville Predators’ 2021 first round pick (27th overall) miss 10 games, citing his fan interaction as something that “simply can’t be tolerated”.
Having already been suspended on several occasions for blatant disregard for player safety, L’Heureux was considered a repeat offender and his checkered past certainly played a role in the penalty handed out.
This season, L’Heureux has put up 18 goals and another 19 assists for 37 points in 24 games with Halifax. But he has also over a penalty minute per game to boot. His suspension history is also something else…
He has been suspended on NINE separate occasions during his four-year career within the QMJHL, thus limiting his total games played to 158 over four full seasons. He has never appeared in a postseason game at the major junior level.
Primeur : J’ai obtenu une vidéo qui montre que Zachary L’Heureux (@HFXMooseheads) passe son bâton entre la porte et la bande et il semble tenter de frapper des partisans. @OlympiquesGAT @LHJMQ pic.twitter.com/AHOG7Z21uh
— Yanick St-Denis (@StDenis1047) February 10, 2023
The incident in question occurred as L’Heureux was leaving the ice. He appeared to be bothered by something said by an opposing fan situated right near the exit gate, to which he took exception and used his stick to do so. After poking the fan once, he full-on speared the spectator two or three more times, outright jousting against an unarmed combatant.
For his actions, he has been banned for 10 games.
“The fans, they pay to get in but they don’t pay to make contact to a player, but once that happens, the players got to be cool and just go to the box,” Mooseheads former advisory board member Alex Joseph said immediately following L’Heureux’s actions.“If you’ve got a history in which unfortunately this player does have a lot of history of suspensions, they’re going to set precedent and that could be three, six or 12. It’s tough where this goes but they are going to go tough on it.”
L’Heureux is eligible to return to the Mooseheads’ lineup on March 9.