Patrice Cormier changes mind, pleads guilty, receives discharge

Last January, Patrice Cormier's(notes) hit on Mikael Tam during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game made headlines across the hockey world. It sparked fierce debates on violence in hockey and Cormier wound up being suspended for the remainder of the season, during which he was traded from the New Jersey Devils to the Atlanta Thrashers as part of the Ilya Kovalchuk(notes) deal.

Cormier was charged with assault causing injury and last month pleaded not guilty. Tuesday, he changed his mind, as according to the National Post, Cormier appeared in court for the first time and pleaded guilty to a charge of assault causing bodily harm and was given an unconditional discharge.

The unconditional discharge means that Cormier will not have a criminal record and his ability to travel outside of Canada will not be affected.

You may remember that Jonathan Roy, son of NHL great Patrick, received a similar punishment after his role in an on-ice brawl, as did an unnamed 17-year-old former QMJHL player for a crosscheck to the mouth of an opponent. Both incidents occurred in 2008 in the QMJHL.

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