A teen hockey player from Leduc, Alta., was found guilty Tuesday of aggravated assault in a spearing incident that left an opposing player needing emergency surgery to remove part of his bowel.
In his ruling in youth court in Edmonton, Judge Geoffrey Ho found the force sustained in the Jan. 12, 2010, incident was comparable to a seatbelt injury sustained in a high-speed crash.
He said people know there's a risk of injury when they sign up for hockey, but it doesn't mean that arenas should be lawless.
The teen found guilty cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A report will be prepared before he is sentenced in March.
The victim, Austin Hoekstra, said outside court he was pleased with the outcome of the case.
"I'm just happy that there was something done about what happened and that it's going to send a message to people doing hockey so that something like this isn't OK, that you can't be extremely violent in hockey," he said.
Hoekstra, then 16, was speared by a stick during a game between the midget AA Leduc Oil Kings and the Edmonton Maple Leafs at the Clareview Arena in Edmonton.
Hoekstra, a Maple Leaf player, told CBC News last year that he was speared by an opposing player as he was skating back to the bench.
Hoekstra said he threw up for 20 minutes before he went to hospital.
Hoekstra's father, Tom, said the judge made the right decision by finding the teen guilty. "It might save a kid's life," he said.
Austin Hoekstra said he has almost fully recovered from the attack, although he still occasionally suffers from stomach pains.