Kamloops Blazers left-winger Brendan Ranford has been suspended for six games, the WHL announced Tuesday.
Ranford, 18, was given a game misconduct for abuse of an official during Friday's 5-1 loss to the visiting Kelowna Rockets. The league suspended him indefinitely the next morning, and Richard Doerksen, the WHL's vice-president, hockey, made the six-game ruling after talking with Ranford on Monday.
Ranford has missed one game already, and will miss the Blazers final two games of the regular season, Friday against the visiting Prince George Cougars and Saturday in Prince George.
If the Blazers, who currently are ninth in the Western Conference, make the postseason, Ranford will sit out the first three games of the first round. Should Kamloops miss the playoffs, the suspension will be completed at the start of the 2011-12 season.
Ranford was given the game misconduct for cross-checking linesman Kris Hartley across the chest in the second period of Friday's game while being escorted to the penalty box to serve a slashing penalty.
This is the 11th time this season a Blazers player has been suspended by the league. In total, Kamloops players have sat out 28 games due to WHL discipline.
Meanwhile, the Blazers announced Tuesday that Matt Needham, their first-round pick in the 2010 WHL bantam draft, has joined them for the remainder of the season.
Needham, 15, has already played 11 games with the Blazers, picking up seven points, three of them goals. His Okanagan Hockey Academy midget AAA team lost a playoff series, so Needham is eligible to remain with Kamloops.
JUST NOTES: The Blazers (29-36-3-2) are two points back of the Everett Silvertips (27-30-7-4) for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Silvertips have four games remaining, and will kick off a four-games-in-five nights stretch today, 7:05 p.m., against host Kelowna. . . . Everett, which has lost seven in a row, also will play the Winterhawks in Portland on Friday, the Bruins in Chilliwack on Saturday and the Giants in Vancouver on Sunday. . . . The Seattle Thunderbirds (26-33-4-5), who are two points back of the Blazers, will begin a four-in-five stretch tonight against the Americans in Tri-City. Seattle will be in Spokane to play the Chiefs on Friday, at home to Portland on Saturday and Tri-City on Sunday.