Hodgemail: Should the judicial system deal with Cormier? Staff

1/21/2010 8:19:11 PM

TSN's Dave Hodge sounds off on all the hockey issues of the day in a segment this season called Hodgemail.

By now, everyone in the hockey world has seen the head shot delivered by Rouyn-Noranda forward Patrice Cormier on Mikael Tam of the Quebec Remparts.

And as the players and teams involved wait for a punishment to be handed down by Quebec Major Junior Hockey League commissioner Gilles Courteau, there are already whispers of possible legal action.

Having violent in-game incidents go to a 'higher court' is nothing new in hockey. Defenceman Marty McSorley of the Boston Bruins was convicted of assault in connection with a blow to the head on Donald Brashear of the Vancouver Canucks in February of 2000.

Criminal charges were also laid against Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi for sucker-punching Colorado's Steve Moore in March of 2004.

Junior hockey has also had its share of exposure through the legal system. Last year, Jonathan Roy - son of Remparts coach and Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy, pleaded guilty in court to assaulting opponent Bobby Nadeau during a QMJHL game in March of 2008. And last December, a former QMJHL player (who could not be named because he was 17 at the time) appeared in the Youth Division of Quebec Court in Montreal after he was convicted of assault for a cross-check he delivered to the mouth of an opponent.

So here's Dave's question to you: "Should the judicial system be dealing with Patrice Cormier?"

And here are the answers that Dave liked best:

Unless someone pulls a 'Happy Gilmore' and tries to stab another player with his skate, the judicial system should not be involved.' Curtis - Kingston, ON

When Cormier elbowed the Swedish player, little was said and nothing was done. If Hockey Canada had acted responsibly and had disciplined Cormier, a message would have been received. Now, that message should come from the authorities. Matt - Burlington, ON

Where do you draw the line? Do fighters get arrested? Are elbow pads considered weapons? Can you be charged for intending to injure? Policing is best left to the leagues, and most of all, to the players. Jared - Guelph, ON

The best way for justice to be done is to let him play in the next game between those teams. He'd get his face mashed in and he'd learn his lesson.Gordon from TSN Fan Page on Facebook

The judicial system should go after the league. If hockey leagues were held responsible for incidents like this one, they'd clean themselves up. George - Ottawa

If you run down the street and throw an elbow at a guy, causing him to convulse on the floor, you will get charged. It should be no different on ice. Precedent means everything and no hockey player is above the law. Matt - Brampton, Ontario

Maybe taking this incident 'outside of the game' will send a message that this won't be tolerated, because regardless of the history of punishments handed out for such actions, this still continues. In fact, it seems to be increasing. - Scott

The judicial system has enough to deal with each day with homicides and sex offenders. Keep the decision on this matter in the hands of the CHL. Jeff - Saskatoon

If every hit was classified as an assault, arena seats would be filled with lawyers. But head hunting for the sake of inflicting injury is not acceptable and the attacker should be held accountable in court. Harold - Retired Law Enforcement Officer, Detroit

Leagues need to come down swifter and harder on players whether it be by suspension, fine or both to deter these types of incidents. If the judicial system comes into it what, are you going to have cops at the games interviewing witnesses and arresting players? - James, Minneapolis

And Dave's Reply To All:

Don't expect courts to solve hockey violence. It is wrong to say the courts shouldn't deal with stuff like this; Patrice Cormier committed an assault and he ought to be charged, but so what? If convicted, he'd pay a fine, or receive probation or a discharge. So don't look to the police or crown prosecutors for solutions. Hockey has to solve its own problem, and it has to do more than suspend Cormier for the rest of this season or for the rest of his junior career, which could be the same thing. Because as long as Cormier winds up in the NHL, he won't really suffer very much. So, he's not going to jail and he is going to the pros. Short of sending him to one place or keeping him out of the other, it may be that there's no way to stop hockey crimes.