Hockey attack warrants house arrest: prosecutor

A Crown prosecutor is recommending a teen hockey player should serve six months house arrest followed by six to eight months probation for spearing another player during a game.

A Crown prosecutor is recommending a teen hockey player serve six months house arrest followed by six to eight months probation for spearing another player during a game in Edmonton.  

The teen from Leduc, Alta. can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Austin Hoekstra speaks with media outside Edmonton courthouse in January. ((CBC))
He was convicted of aggravated assault after spearing Austin Hoekstra, then 16, in the stomach during a hockey game in January 2010 at Clareview Arena.

Crown prosecutor Ryan Persab said Friday the on-ice assault is unchartered territory in terms of other cases when it comes to sentencing.

The assault was serious; a criminal offense, he said.

Persab reminded the judge that the victim refused to fight and was then speared — well after the referee's whistle had stopped the play.

The injury — a perforated bowel — was so severe Hoekstra could have died, he said.

Required emergency surgery

Hoekstra spent weeks in the hospital after undergoing emergency surgery.

Defence lawyer Richard Gregory asked for a conditional discharge.

Gregory noted the convicted teen has no criminal record and called the attack a momentary lapse of judgement.

After sentencing arguments were heard, the teen apologised to Hoekstra and his family. 

"I did not intend for this to happen," he said. "I'm really happy that Austin is getting on with his life. I'm really sorry for my actions."

Hoekstra has almost fully recovered from the attack, although he still occasionally suffers from stomach pains, he said.

The judge will return with his decision Monday.