British Columbia

Heidi Ferber, ex-hockey coach, gets 1 year in jail in teen sex case

Former Kamloops, B.C., hockey coach Heidi Ferber, 39, has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the affair she started with a teenage hockey player.

Kamloops, B.C., woman pleaded guilty in February to sexual exploitation of a minor

Heidi Ferber, a former hockey coach in Kamloops, B.C., was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to sexual exploitation of a minor and admitting to an affair in 2010 with a 15-year-old player. (Google+)

Former Kamloops, B.C., hockey coach Heidi Ferber has been sentenced to a year in jail after pleading guilty to charges stemming from the affair she started with teenage hockey player Chanelle Petrie.

During sentencing, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hope Hyslop said Ferber took every opportunity to have sex with Petrie over several months.

Ferber sobbed as she apologized to the teen she sexually exploited, the youth's parents who trusted her, and her own family.

Petrie, who was in the courtroom to hear the sentence, said it's the end of a chapter in her life.

Chanelle Petrie speaks outside B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops where her former hockey coach was sentenced to a year in jail for sexually exploiting her. (Brady Strachan/CBC)

"It's like a huge weight was lifted off my chest and I feel like now it's finally time for me to put this behind me and to start using it to get my life going," she told CBC News.

Petrie said she doesn't know if she can forgive Ferber for the sexual exploitation that robbed her of her youth.

In addition to her one-year sentence, Ferber will also have to serve 18 months of probation once she is released from jail. She is also ordered not to have contact with anyone under the age of 16 and will be registered as a sexual offender.

The Crown had asked for a sentence between nine and 12 months in jail for Ferber. The defence had asked for 90 days to six months, to be served on weekends.

Chanelle Petrie had been only 15

Chanelle Petrie was only 15 in 2010 when her team's assistant coach, Ferber, who was then 39 years old, began a sexual relationship with her.

"I trusted her a lot and she took advantage of that, so trust is a pretty hard thing for me now," Petrie told CBC News.

Petrie said Ferber was a great hockey player and she considered her to be a role model.

The young hockey player eventually told a counsellor and her parents about what was happening. 

Chanelle Petrie, now 18, says she came forward and agreed to have the publication ban protecting her identity lifted to encourage other women in similar circumstances to speak out. (Facebook)

Ferber was then charged with sexual exploitation and sexual interference with a person under the age of 16. Earlier this year, Ferber pleaded guilty.

That's when Petrie, now 18 and living in Calgary, asked a B.C. Supreme Court judge for a publication ban on her name to be lifted.

The law provides for an automatic ban on the publication of names in sex cases, to protect the identities of the victims.

Petrie, who still plays hockey with the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology Trojans women's team, says she wanted the publication ban lifted because she wants other young people who have faced abuse to know that it's OK to speak out.

"You don't have to be ashamed of yourself. You did nothing wrong. That's a huge message that I think really needs to be put out there," she said.

With files from the CBC's Brady Strachan and Doug Herbert