Teen hockey player gets discharge for spear

A youth court judge granted a teen hockey player a six-month conditional discharge Monday for spearing another player during a game in Edmonton

A youth court judge granted a teen hockey player a six-month conditional discharge Monday for spearing another player during a game in Edmonton.

Austin Hoekstra speaks with media outside Edmonton courthouse in January. ((CBC))
The Leduc, Alta. teen, who was 17 at the time of the incident, must report to a youth worker.  He was also ordered to donate $1,000 to the Stollery Children's Hospital and perform 50 hours of community service, preferably at a hospital.

He must also write a letter of apology to Austin Hoekstra, whom he speared during a hockey game in January 2010 at Clareview Arena.

The teen, who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was convicted of aggravated assault in January.

The sentence is in line with a recommendation by the teen's lawyer and much lighter than the six months house arrest asked for by the Crown prosecutor on Friday.

The teen's sentencing is not the place to send a message about violence in hockey being unacceptable, Judge Geoffrey Ho said. Ho said he believes the spearing was an isolated incident and the teen is remorseful.

The teen's lawyer, Richard Gregory, called the sentence just and said both families can now move on.

"That’s what we were ultimately looking for today — both parties be satisfied that there was meaningful consequences," he said outside the courthouse.

Gregory also pointed to discharges granted by courts in high profile on-ice attacks involving NHL players such as Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorley.

"One of the provisions of the [Youth Criminal Justice] Act states you can’t sentence a youth to a stricter sentence than an adult."  

Hoekstra, who spent weeks in hospital after emergency surgery for a perforated bowel, was not in the courtroom Monday.