The RCMP are investigating an alleged on-ice attack in Stanley that left a 25-year-old man with broken bones in his face and five missing teeth.
Matthew Fraser, a member of the Stanley Coyotes, was playing in an adult recreational league last Saturday night. In the second period, Fraser was standing in front of the net when he was violently checked by an opposing player.
"There was just a scrum in front of the net and the play was stopped and then somebody came in skating in from the blue line and I happened to turn around and he just cross-checked me in the face," he said.
James Fraser, his father, was in the stands of the Stanley arena with his six-year-old granddaughter and five-year-old grandson when the incident happened.
"This guy looked at Matt. Matt’s a 250-pound man. He’s not going to come down easy. And he had his stick like this and he jammed it right into his face just as hard as he could do it," Fraser said.
'I never seen nothing so brutal in my whole life. Never on TV. Never anywhere. This is as bad as it could get.' —James Fraser, victim's father
"It was so brutal. I never seen nothing so brutal in my whole life. Never on TV. Never anywhere. This is as bad as it could get."
The check broke Fraser’s jaw and required emergency surgery.
The Stanley Coyotes play in a recreational league that does not permit checking.
The incident is now being investigated by the Canadian Adult Recreational Hockey Association.
David Hawkins, the opposing player, has been suspended indefinitely following the on-ice incident.
But the Frasers want more than just a suspension.
The family contends the cross-check was an assault and spoke to the RCMP about a criminal investigation.
The RCMP initially told the family it wasn't a police matter because it occurred on the ice in a hockey arena, but an RCMP spokesperson told CBC News on Tuesday that was an error and police are now launching an investigation.
Future surgeries required
Days after the check, Fraser still can barely talk and has trouble eating.
The 25-year-old had to visit the dentist again on Tuesday for an examination.
He is facing major dental reconstruction surgery in the future.
Fraser said he didn’t see the player before he got cross-checked in the face. Despite his injuries, Fraser said he has to move on.
"I'm upset. It's over but I got to live through it. It's not much I can do about it," he said.