Aidan David Cromwell must serve at least 11 years in prison before applying for parole for the second-degree murder of Marc Bernard Tremblay in Halifax.
Cromwell, 20, was convicted of murdering 25-year-old Tremblay in 2012. That carries an automatic life sentence, so the hearing determined how long he must serve before becoming eligible for parole.
The Crown had asked for 12 to 15 years. The defence had suggested 10 years.
The court heard Tremblay was intoxicated the night he died and yelled at Cromwell as he walked by him in Fairview. Cromwell was arguing with his girlfriend and turned on Tremblay.
Cromwell charged Tremblay and stabbed him in the heart with a stainless steel knife. The blade broke off in his chest.
The two did not know each other prior to the fatal attack.
Tremblay’s partner was pregnant when he died. She appeared in court with their daughter to hear the sentence.
'I will never be the same,' says mother of victim
Tremblay's mother, Rose Marie, described her son as a kind, loving and very funny person during her victim impact statement. She said when he was 22 years old he looked after his sick grandfather.
"I will never be the same," she said.
She also said his daughter, Marla, will never know him in person, although she has been told about him and will kiss his picture. She said the little girl will miss "all the firsts she will never have a Daddy for."
Tremblay's cousin Darren Tobin apologized to Cromwell's family saying, "I'm sorry for everything that happened."
Speaking to Cromwell, he said "I hope you get the help you need, man."
Cromwell sat with his head in his hands during the impact statement while his mother wept.
The court was told Cromwell had a troubled youth, and a previous conviction for stabbing a friend.
Subsequent to that, he was found to be in possession of a knife, a breach of his court-imposed conditions.
Cromwell also apologized to Tremblay's family. He said he was sorry and "never meant for any of this to happen."
His lawyer, Patrick MacEwan, told the court there was a "degree of provocation at play" in Tremblay's death. He said Cromwell's rehabilitation was a real factor for the judge to consider.
Cromwell will be eligible to apply for parole when he is 31.
MacEwan said Cromwell recently discovered poetry as a way to express himself and wants to use that to help others avoid his own mistakes.
Halifax's poet laureate, El Jones, attended the sentencing. She had previously provided the defence with a letter in support of Cromwell.