Participation in youth hockey has slightly declined as of late, according to the Globe and Mail, leaving many wondering what the future holds for the sport in North America.
Now hockey might be facing a decline from another age bracket, as well — beer league players.
31-year-old Gordon MacIsaac has been sentenced to 18 months probation and fined $5,000 for a hit he delivered in a beer league game in 2012, according to the Ottawa Citizen. MacIsaac was convicted of aggravated assault for a collision with 31-year-old Drew Casterton in an Ottawa Senior Men’s Hockey League. The hit left Casterton unconscious on the ice.
Along with the fine and probation, MacIsaac is banned from possessing a weapon, had to provide a DNA sample and is prohibited from playing or coaching a competitive sports team for 18 months, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
Casterton suffered broken teeth, a concussion and scarring on his face. He has filed a $600,000 lawsuit against MacIsaac and the Ottawa Senior Men’s Hockey League for the after-effects of the hit.
MacIsaac’s lawyer sees these types of situation as a problem, saying “It will inevitably create a chilling effect on anybody that considers playing recreational hockey,” via the Ottawa Citizen.
Could he be right?
MacIsaac has nearly completed a PhD in aerospace engineering. Ontario Court Justice Diane Lahaie said that the letters she received in support of MacIsaac described him as one of “Canada’s rising academic practitioners.”
Lahaie also described the hit on Casterton, though, as a “deliberate blindside hit.”
Will more middle-aged men reconsider playing hockey, given the penalties inflicted upon MacIsaac and the injuries Casterton suffered?
Only time will tell.
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