When Patrice Cormier(notes) became the poster boy for nonsensical hockey violence back in January following his flying elbow on Mikael Tam, there was talk the former Team Canada World Junior captain would face criminal charges.
That day has arrived, via the Canadian Press and Buzzing The Net:
Annie-Claude Bergeron, a spokesman for the Crown prosecutor's office in Rouyn-Noranda, says Patrice Cormier has been charged with assault causing injury. Cormier, a forward with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, will appear in court July 12. If convicted, he could be sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Cormier was suspended for the rest of the regular season and the playoffs on Jan. 25 for an elbow to the jaw that sent Mikael Tam of the Quebec Remparts into convulsions on the ice.
Here's the hit by Cormier, then a New Jersey Devils prospect but now part of the Atlanta Thrashers organization, along with some scene-setting from TSN. (WARNING: The footage may be distrubing to some viewers for the graphic nature of the injury. Please know that before watching the clip.)
Please recall that former QMJHL Remparts goalie and aspiring R&B star Jonathan Roy pled guilty to an assault charge and received an unconditional discharge after his March 2008 beating of goalie Bobby Nadeau.
Judges have ruled in the past that "the law extends to hockey arenas and that players need to understand this." The majority of these cases appear to end with a fine or probation, which may be one reason, for all the talk of changing the hockey culture, why they keep happening.