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Minor League Player Suspended 35 Games

October 28, 2004

MONTREAL (AP) _ Clint Butler, already cut by his minor pro hockey team for fighting with a spectator, has been slapped with a 35-game suspension by the Quebec-based North American Hockey League.

The league, unrelated to the U.S. junior North American Hockey League, suspended Butler for 25 games for his fight with a spectator and another 10 games for shoving a linesman.

Butler, formerly of the Verdun Dragons, reached over the glass behind the bench to exchange punches with a fan late in a game against Laval last Friday.

Dragons equipment manager Michel Sauve was suspended three games for throwing sticks over the glass, and coach Lucien Paquette was given a warning letter by the league for having banged a stick against the glass.

On Sunday, team officials said Butler was released and would never play for Verdun again.

It was Butler’s second game for Verdun this season. In 65 games over four seasons in the league, he had one goal, one assist and 517 penalty minutes.

It was the second major suspension of the season in the league, which encourages fighting but tries to crack down on other violence.

Last week, Mathieu Melancon of Thetford Mines was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs for a two-handed slash to the head of Quebec City forward Sylvain Blouin, who suffered a concussion.

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