A Quebec Junior AA hockey player who was handcuffed on the ice by provincial police in February following an incident with a referee has been charged with assault.

Olivier Marcotte, who was playing for the Sherbrooke Hockey-Experts, allegedly spit in the referee's face after Marcotte was thrown out of a game in Nicolet, Que. 

The referee also alleges Marcotte, now 22, hit him and that he suffered minor injuries. Marcotte was released the same night he was taken into custody.

Police had initially said they wouldn't pursue the matter unless a complaint was filed. 

The hockey player was formally charged in a Trois-Rivières court on Monday.

Through his lawyer, Marcotte has pleaded not guilty.