'Tripping' B.C. Hockey Coach Was Burned Out, Lawyer Says

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The lawyer for the B.C. hockey coach who was caught on tape tripping a teenage player says the public doesn't know the whole story.

Martin Tremblay, 48, was filmed knocking the skates out from underneath a 13-year-old hockey player with his foot following a game at UBC's Thunderbird Arena. The 13-year-old boy broke his wrist and fell into a 10-year-old player.

The incident was recorded on video by someone watching in the stands, and then drew national attention after it was posted online to YouTube.

Tremblay pleaded guilty to two counts of assault in November, and was back at Richmond Provincial Court Thursday for a sentencing hearing.

The Crown is asking for a sentence of 30 days of house arrest and 18 months of probation, but Tremblay's lawyer is asking for a suspended sentence and a year probation.

Coach was exhausted, depressed

Lawyer Robert Bellows said the court and the public haven't heard the whole story — a story that doesn't excuse his client's actions, but helps explains his behaviour after that game in June.

Bellows told the court that Tremblay was under tremendous pressure at the time of the incident, and had over-committed himself to coaching, being a scout leader, and working long hours.

"You had a case of an over-exhausted, burned-out coach. That's what this case is all about. That's why he 'lost it' on the day in question."

Tremblay had also stopped taking anti-depressants 22 days before the game, and the change in medication left the coach with increased anxiety and feelings of self-loathing, his lawyer said.

Tremblay was often on the verge of tears, and had no capacity to deal with his emotions, he told the court.

Bellows also said the public didn't see what happened before the tripping incident, including heated exchanges between Tremblay and other players in previous games.

And after tripping the player, Tremblay was hit in the arm with a player's stick and another coach grabbed Tremblay's clothes, ripping off buttons, his lawyer claimed.

Bellows read out Tremblay's letter of apology, which was written to the two young victims last year.

The judge is expected to hand down his sentencing decision Feb. 26.