POLITICS

Winnipeg man accused of aggravated assault during recreational hockey game

09/06/2013 04:07 EDT | Updated 11/06/2013 05:12 EST
WINNIPEG - A Winnipeg man is facing an aggravated assault charge after a vicious hockey brawl in a recreational hockey league game.

Police have released few details about the incident, saying only that a 39-year-old man suffered serious upper body injuries when he was unexpectedly assaulted by an opposing player during an Aug. 17 game in the Adult Safe Hockey League — where body-checking is forbidden.

Police spokesman Const. Jason Michalyshen said Friday the attack went far beyond what anyone would expect at a hockey game.

"There is rough play, hockey is a rough sport, but I can tell you right now that there is a degree of violence that we all have to take into consideration," he said.

"Just because this happened on the ice doesn't mean that the Criminal Code can't apply."

The alleged victim, Chris Phillips, did not return phone calls Friday.

Shortly after the brawl last month, he told Winnipeg radio station CJOB he was among several players involved in a skirmish when an opposing player came off the bench and belted him in the jaw.

"I'm sitting there in this defenceless position and I just felt this strike," Phillips said at the time.

Phillips said he lost some of his teeth and had his jaw wired shut.

Police have not identified the 32-year-old accused.

He was released pending his next court appearance.

Aggravated assault carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.