Airline rampage nets Canadian hockey player a year in jail

A Toronto-born hockey player who slapped a flight attendant, head-butted a passenger and exposed himself on an American Airlines flight was sentenced Monday to one year and a day in prison.

A Toronto-born hockey player who slapped a flight attendant, head-butted a passenger and exposed himself on an American Airlines flight was sentenced Monday to one year and a day in prison.

David Cornacchia, 27, who plays for the Florida Everblades in Fort Myers, Fla., will also be under supervised release for three years, including substance abuse and anger management programs, and must pay a $4,000 US fine.

Before sentencing in the federal courthouse in Fort Myers, the prosecutor read out details of what the defenceman did on Dec. 27, 2007 while flying to Dallas from his home in Toronto to join his team for a game in Texas.

According to court documents, the player became angry with a flight attendant after he was refused a third alcoholic drink. Cornacchia slapped the male flight attendant with an open hand.

Cornacchia began cursing at other passengers and exposed himself to them, according to an affidavit. Flight attendants and an assisting passenger then secured Cornacchia's hands behind his back with plastic restraints and belted him into a seat. Cornacchia head-butted the passenger who was helping restrain him.

The pilot declared an on-board emergency and was granted a direct approach to Dallas-Fort Worth airport, where the player was arrested.

Cornacchia's lawyer, Michael Hornung, said he had been hoping for a sentence of probation without jail time.

According to a hockey website, Cornacchia has played minor professional hockey for the past seven years. Before that, he played in the Ontario Hockey League from 1997 to 2001, spending time with the Sudbury Wolves, the Sarnia Sting and the Belleville Bulls.

With files from the Associated Press