In 2010, Alexis Turcotte, then 11 years old, was on the ice with his Pee Wee team in Trois-Pistoles, Que., when he was cross-checked from behind.
When he got up, he was cross-checked again, this time hard in the face.
His mother Annie Turcotte was in the stands that day.
“I saw that Alexis wasn’t moving. He was completely motionless on the ground,” she says.
Alexis says he has no memory of that day.
For months afterwards, he says he stayed in his dark bedroom because noise and lights were too hard for him to bear. His grades suffered, he says, adding that he can no longer play contact sports.
Quebec outlawed cross-checks in minor leagues more than 25 years ago. Despite that, Jean-PierreMénard, the lawyer representing Alexis in civil court, says the player who hit his client received nothing more than a two-minute penalty.
A full report on the incident was sent to the local league, Hockey Quebec and Hockey Canada, but Ménard says none of them followed up.
“It’s like saying, ‘It’s not that bad, it’s OK,’” says the lawyer. He equates the lack of response to encouraging violence and is seeking $360,000, including $50,000 for punitive damages, on behalf of the family.
Ménard says that other victims of bad hockey hits have sued the perpetrators, but this is the first time someone is going after the leagues.
None of the leagues would comment because the case is before the courts.