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Ottawa man convicted of aggravated assault for hit in men's league

By Chris Peters | Hockey Writer

A 31-year-old Ottawa man is on probation stemming from a men's league hit. (Getty Images)
A 31-year-old Ottawa man is on probation stemming from a men's league hit. (Getty Images)

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A 31-year-old Ottawa man has been convicted of assault stemming from an on-ice collision during a men's league game according to the Ottawa Citizen. Gordon McIsaac was sentenced to 18 months' probation after Wednesday's conviction.

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Ontario Court Justice Diane Lahaie described the incident, which took place during an Ottawa Senior Men's Hockey League game on March 12, 2012, as a "deliberate blindside hit."

However, Patrick McCann insists his client, Gordon MacIsaac, did not intentionally hit 31-year-old Drew Casterton.

The collision broke some of Casterton's teeth, scarred his face and caused a concussion that resulted in debilitating headaches.

MacIsaac was convicted at trial of aggravated assault, and at sentencing on Wednesday he was also ordered to pay $5,000 to Casterton, provide a DNA sample, was banned from possessing a weapon, and was forbidden to play or coach competitive sports during his 18 months' probation.

The league in question is a non-checking league. Even in those leagues, it's usually nothing more than a penalty being assessed on the ice. Sometimes it's a game misconduct. However, considering the purported severity of Casterton's injuries, it's not hard to believe it rose to the level of criminal charges.

According to MacIsaac's lawyer, his client is a PhD candidate and wrote a letter of apology to the victim of his hit.

The descriptions from eyewitnesses certainly paint a chilling picture of the event as they saw it.

More from the Citizen:

Witnesses for the prosecution said Casterton was coming out from behind the net as MacIsaac was rushing in. Witnesses on the victim's team said that with 47 seconds left in the game, MacIsaac's feet left the ice and he hit Casterton's head, snapping it back. Casterton lost consciousness and fell to the ice.

Jonathan Desjardins, a referee at the game, testified that both Casterton and MacIsaac were rushing toward the puck behind the net when the collision happened.

"What I saw, clearly saw, is [MacIsaac] jumped off the ice," Desjardins testified. "His skates left the ice, arms in the high position, making contact with the victim."

According to the Citizen, Casterton has also filed a $600,000 lawsuit against MacIsaac and the Ottawa Senior Men's Hockey League.

It is extremely rare to see on-ice events play out in a courtroom, but considering that this occurred in a non-checking league meant for recreation, it's likely the right call from the Ottawa courts on this one given the evidence and eyewitness testimony. Hockey is an emotional game, and sometimes those emotions run high. It can happen at any level, but the injuries described by Casterton are awfully troubling.

MacIsaac's lawyer argued that the conviction could lead to lower participation in men's leagues. That's a tough sell considering this seems to be a case of things going too far as opposed to a regular occurrence. No one should go to play in a recreational league with the fear of a criminal act taking place on the ice.

(h/t Puck Daddy)

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