A 17-year-old Midget AA hockey player in Leduc has been suspended by Hockey Alberta for the rest of the season after an alleged spearing incident during a game in January.
The incident sent Austin Hoekstra, 16, of Edmonton, to hospital with internal injuries that required surgery.
Hockey Alberta won't comment on the suspension because it can be appealed, and because the suspended player is facing a charge of aggravated assault. Police laid the assault charge against the Leduc teen shortly after the incident.
He cannot be named under provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The injured player's family is considering a civil suit, said Tom Hoekstra, Austin's father.
"The severity of Austin’s injuries and surgery could very, very easily — and we still don’t know — could affect him later in life big time," said Hoekstra.
"It’s virtually ended Austin’s high-level hockey career."
'What I'm looking for is to protect kids in the future'—Tom Hoekstra, hockey parent
The suspension, which lasts through the end of this season and the playoffs, doesn't send a strong enough message, he said.
"I don't think a term, or amount of time, is what I was looking for. What I'm looking for is to protect the kids in the future from having something like this happen," he said.
"I really do believe that the public is starting to get tired of — from the NHL down — all these injuries to kids that are serious injuries.
"This after-the-whistle stuff, these head shots, that's not part of the game," Hoekstra said.
The suspended player is to appear in court early in March on the aggravated assault charge.