Cormier suspended for balance of QMJHL season and playoffs

{eot} Staff
1/25/2010 7:32:58 PM
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The verdict is in.

Rouyn-Noranda Huskies forward Patrice Cormier was suspended for the balance of the season and the playoffs by the QMJHL on Monday.

Cormier, 19, created a firestorm of media attention last week when he elbowed Mikael Tam of the Quebec Remparts in the head, sending Tam into convulsions on the ice and causing him to be taken to hospital with brain trauma and broken teeth.

Chief disciplinarian Raymond Bolduc called the hit "dangerous and unacceptable" after laying out the punishment on Monday. 

The incident occurred in overtime of a game on January 17. Cormier took to the ice to start his shift, cut through the centre ice area and threw his right elbow up into Tam's face. Tam then collapsed, his body shaking until he was taken off the ice on a stretcher by medical staff and players.

Cormier, who was playing in just his third game with the Huskies, was suspended indefinitely by the league pending further investigation.

The hit generated a massive amount of discussion in Canada, drawing the ire of head shot critics from the hockey world. The day after the incident, TSN Hockey Insider Bob McKenzie took to his Twitter account, writing, "This Cormier elbow is sickening on so many levels. I have never been so discouraged about the game of hockey as now."

The league announced last Wednesday that it would be unveiling "disciplinary measures" the following Monday for Cormier, who was serving as the captain of Canada's world junior team no more than a few weeks ago.

This suspension also comes just four days after the OHL suspended Windsor Spitfires forward Zack Kassian for 20 games for delivering a charge against a vulnerable player who did not have the puck. That hit was on the Barrie Colts' Matt Kennedy back on January 14th.

Bolduc had spent recent days looking over testimony from players, officials and team representatives who witnessed the incident.

He added on Monday that Cormier would not allowed to play in any leagues under Hockey Canada's jurisdiction, but that he had five days to appeal the suspension if he wished to do so.

Cormier is not allowed to play for the Devils or their AHL affiliate until his QMJHL team is eliminated from the playoffs.

Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said the organization would respect the QMJHL's ruling.

"We will honour the league's suspension, have not considered, and will not explore other avenues for his return this season," Lamoriello said in a team release. "We are pleased to hear Mikael Tam is doing well. Our thoughts are with him for a full recovery."

Lamoriello said the Devils organization does not condone Cormier's actions but also defended the player they picked 54th overall back in 2008.

"This unfortunate incident does not reflect the character of the Patrice Cormier we know," added Lamoriello. "We trust that Patrice will have learned a valuable lesson that will serve him well when he returns to hockey as a valued player in our organization."

Meanwhile, Tam is now out of hospital but is waiting to hear whether he'll be able to resume his hockey career in the near future, if at all.

Patrice Cormier (Photo: The Canadian Press)


(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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