05
Feb
10

another heart-warming hockey story ***follow up story attached as well***

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2 Responses to “another heart-warming hockey story ***follow up story attached as well***”


  1. February 5, 2010 at 5:12 PM

    A 16-year-old Leduc hockey player has been charged with aggravated assault after a vicious on-ice attack that put another boy in the hospital where surgeons had to remove a section of his bowel.

    The victim’s father is furious that while the case was serious enough to warrant a criminal charge, the accused attacker has not been disciplined by hockey authorities.

    “He’s still playing while my boy hasn’t even been able to go back to school yet,” Tom Hoekstra said Wednesday.

    He called the attack “completely cowardly.”

    But an Edmonton Minor Hockey Association spokesman said officials have been investigating diligently.

    The problem, said Jerry Rossiter, is that the incident happened during a stop in play and the officials were looking elsewhere. No penalty was ever assessed and no official incident report was filed.

    “We’re on top of it,” he said. “There’s been no lack of effort, and no shortage of e-mails. This thing has been closely monitored.”

    City cops laid the charge on Sunday, nearly three weeks after the Jan. 12 incident at the Clareview arena between the midget AA Leduc Oil Kings and the Edmonton Maple Leafs.

    Austin Hoekstra, 16, of the Maple Leafs, said that during the second period a Leduc player challenged him to a fight. “He was way smaller than me, so I just said, ‘Yeah, right.’ and turned away. We hadn’t said two words to each other before that.”

    A few moments later the whistle blew and play stopped. Austin said the same Leduc player, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, skated by him on his way to the bench.

    As he went past, Austin said, the Leduc player ferociously speared him in the abdomen.

    Austin went down, but managed to get up and skate to his own bench, where he started to vomit violently.

    He was taken to the team dressing room, where he continued to vomit for about 20 minutes.

    He started to feel better and his father took him home. An hour or two later Austin began convulsing in agony.

    He was taken by ambulance to University hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery to repair a ruptured bowel. Doctors also discovered that his pancreas was severely bruised, which meant he could not eat solid food for two weeks.

    “The surgeon told me that his injuries were no different than someone stabbing him,” Tom Hoekstra said.

    Austin has lost 22 pounds and is still on a restricted diet. The honours student at Austin O’Brien missed all of his first-semester final exams and won’t be able to attend class for another two weeks.

    “I’ve gotta get back to school. I’m falling behind,” he said.

    Despite what happened, Austin hopes to play hockey again next season.

    “I’ve been playing for 12 years and I’ve never even been injured before,” he said. “Then one idiot does one stupid thing and puts me in the hospital for two weeks.”

    Hockey Alberta is reviewing the case. “Basically, 99% of the incidents are called by officials. Discipline is triggered by our officials making calls on the ice based on what they see,” said spokesman Brad Robbins. “Unfortunately, we’re not in a position to videotape hockey games.”

    The provincial body takes vicious attacks very seriously, he said. It’s reviewing its minimum penalties for serious incidents.

    Robbins said there are roughly 125,000 hockey games played each winter in Alberta, “and when you look at it, there are not a lot of very bad incidents taking place.”

    EMHA’s Rossiter said both his club and Leduc Minor Hockey have been working together to investigate the case. A spokesman for Leduc Minor Hockey did not return phone calls on Wednesday.

  2. February 6, 2010 at 3:49 PM

    Hockey Alberta has suspended a 16-year-old Leduc player who allegedly speared an Edmonton teen with his hockey stick while it launches an investigation into the incident.

    “That’s a guaranteed 10-day suspension,” said Mike Dennis, spokesman for the provincial body. “At the end of that, our president makes the call on whether she feels that 10 days was good enough or if further discipline is needed.”

    The alleged attack took place at a Jan. 12 midget AA game between the Edmonton Maple Leafs and the Leduc Oil Kings at the Clareview arena.

    Austin Hoekstra, 16, of the Maple Leafs, said that during the second period a Leduc player tried to pick a fight. Moments later, the whistle was blown and, while referees were looking away, Hoekstra said the Leduc player skated up to him and slammed his stick into his abdomen.

    Hoekstra was rushed to the University hospital hours later where he underwent surgery for a ruptured bowel. Doctors said his spleen was also severely bruised.

    Police have since charged the alleged attacker, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, with aggravated assault.

    Hoekstra is still recovering and hasn’t been able to return to school.

    His father, Tom Hoekstra, said the family takes some solace in knowing the Leduc player is off the ice.

    “Austin’s season is done, why shouldn’t this guy’s be?” he said. “(Austin’s) whole life has been turned upside down. I think it’s important that there’s some kind of retribution.”

    He blames the hockey associations involved — including Hockey Alberta and the Edmonton and Leduc minor hockey associations — for their delayed action.

    “I hope through this whole media circus that these associations are going to do a better job protecting their players,” he said. “I think this whole thing has been an embarrassment to these associations and the way they’ve handled it.”

    Hockey Alberta, however, said it just found out about the incident on Wednesday.

    “We had to look into it and find out for ourselves,” Dennis said. “Once we reviewed the incident, we decided to initiate the suspension.”

    ALYSSA.NOEL@SUNMEDIA.CA


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