When a judge pulled no punches in an NHL hockey violence case

An on-ice incident led to an off-ice criminal conviction.

Manitoba judge handed fine to Winnipeg Jets enforcer Jimmy Mann for on-ice incident

In May of 1982, hockey player Jimmy Mann pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm, in connection with an on-ice incident a few months earlier. 1:38

Jimmy Mann paid a price for landing what a judge later described as a sucker punch on the jaw of an opposing hockey player.

That price included a 10-game suspension from the NHL and a forfeit of the pay that went with that, along with a subsequent criminal charge.

And when the Winnipeg Jets enforcer pleaded guilty inside a Winnipeg courtroom on May 18, 1982 to assault causing bodily harm, he expected his punishment would end at that point.

That's because his lawyer, as well as the Crown attorney, agreed that a conditional discharge would suffice for his actions that broke the jaw of Pittsburgh Penguins centre Derek Gardner during an NHL game four months earlier. (Newspaper reports indicated the incident had occurred after Gardner had cross-checked one of Mann's teammates earlier in the same game.)

But the courtroom referee — in this case, a Manitoba judge — saw things differently.

"The judge said granting a discharge would be condoning Mann's behaviour, so he registered a conviction and a $500 fine," the CBC's Terry Matte explained to viewers of The National the day Mann was sentenced.

Matte said the court heard that Mann regretted what had happened on the ice and the poor example he had set for young people.

"But outside court, Mann made no apologies," Matte reported.

Speaking to reporters, Mann said: "It probably will never happen again, but it certainly won't change my style of playing, you know, whether that happened or not."

Matte said Mann hoped to show "that he can do other things, too, like score goals."

But Mann wouldn't be credited with another goal during his next two seasons with Winnipeg. And he'd only score one more goal during his NHL career, which ended in the 1987-88 season.

In the long run, Mann did regret the on-ice incident, telling the Globe and Mail in 2004 that "it had a black mark over me" for the rest of his NHL career.