People in Patrice Cormier's hometown of Cap-Pélé, N.B., have mixed feelings about criminal charges laid against the hockey player for a hit made during a game.
Cormier, captain of this year's national junior hockey team, is also well known because of a hit he gave during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League game in Rouyn-Noranda in January.
Video of the incident shows Cormier, a forward with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, giving an elbow to the jaw of Mikael Tam of the Quebec Remparts, who falls to the ice in convulsions.
Cormier was suspended for the rest of the season.
On Monday, the Crown prosecutor's office in Rouyn-Noranda laid charges of assault causing bodily harm against him.
Euloge Richard, of Cap-Pélé, said Tuesday that Quebec prosecutors are looking for a scapegoat.
"I think because he's an Acadian — not only an Acadian, but from the Maritime provinces. If he was from Ontario or Quebec, I don't think it would be that bad," Richard said.
Armandine Robichaud said the police are overreacting.
"I don't think it's fair. I think it's just an accident, that's all. They just bumped," Robichaud said.
Anita Cormier said Cormier has already lost a season, and she's worried his life will be ruined if he winds up with a criminal record.
"That's not fair, that's not justice," she said.
Edward Spence isn't so sure Cormier played fair. "Kind of a little rough," he said.
Rudy Chipp said there's too much violence in hockey.
"All I can say is, if he done wrong, he should be punished. If he didn't do anything wrong, they should make sure things are right before they punish him," Chipp said.
Ronald Thibodeau, who used to referee games where Cormier played, said he was a good kid.
"He was a good player. He wasn't mean or anything, nope, he was a good player," he said.
Cormier is to appear in court July 12.