QMJHL suspends Cormier indefinitely for elbow to the head Staff

1/18/2010 9:12:26 PM

The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League has suspended Rouyn-Noranda Huskies forward Patrice Cormier indefinitely for his hit on Quebec Remparts defenceman Mikael Tam during overtime of Quebec's 3-2 shootout win on Sunday afternoon.

QMJHL disciplinary Raymond Bolduc confirmed Monday that an announcement on the official length of the suspension will be made once the disciplinary process has been completed.

''It's a great game and situations like this hurt (it) tremendously,'' said Remparts head coach Patrick Roy ''and we don't need those types of shots.''

Cormier, who was Canada's captain at the IIHF World Junior Hockey tournament earlier in the month, came off the bench for a line change and hit Tam in the head with an elbow.

Tam, an 18-year-old defenceman with the Remparts, went into convulsions on the ice due to the hit and was immediately taken to a local hospital where he remains as a result of brain trauma. 

Remparts spokesperson Nicole Bouchard said that Tam underwent a brain scan after the game and that a second scan on Monday morning showed no deterioration in his condition. 

According to Quebec 800, the radio station that broadcasts Remparts games, Tam was released from hospital Monday evening.

Cormier was given a major penalty for charging and was ejected from the game.

''One thing I didn't like was the way he left the ice,'' Roy said. ''He didn't show that he felt sorry for what he did, he was arguing with the referee, and when he was asked to leave the ice, he was looking at our bench.''

Roy explained how it was extremely difficult for his players to continue the game following the hit.

''There were a lot of guys crying on the bench and we had about a minute and 28 seconds left in overtime to play. I don't think anybody had their mind (in the game).

''I said to the guys, and I felt bad saying it, I said; let's win this one for him and the guys responded well.''

Quebec provincial police questioned witnesses at the rink after the game. Police spokesman Marie-Josee Ouellet said the incident is under investigation to see if there are grounds for criminal charges.

World junior teammate Angelo Pietrangelo came to Cormier's defence, saying although he'd only seen video of the hit once, intent to injure is not Cormier's style.

''He's an emotional player and I don't think he intended to hurt anyone, he's not that type of person,'' Pietrangelo said. ''If you know him off the ice, he's a great guy overall.''

Stefan Della Rovere, another world junior teammate of Cormier's, echoed those sentiments.

''I know Patrice personally and he never wants to intentionally hurt anyone. He's a hard-working player that plays both ends of the ice real well. For him to give cheap shots, I don't think its part of his game.''

The 19-year old Cormier is no stranger to controversy.  In an exhibition game prior to the World Junior tournament, the second round draft choice of the New Jersey Devils in 2008 nailed Sweden's Anton Rodin with an elbow to the head.