In a rare case of a hockey fight leading to legal action, a Philadelphia Flyers prospect faces criminal charges for swinging his stick and leaving an opponent unconscious and in convulsions.
Jesse Boulerice, a 19-year-old Flyers draft choice, was charged on Wednesday with "assault to do great bodily harm less than murder" - a felony that carries a jail sentence of up to 10 years and up to a $5,000 fine, prosecutors said Friday.The Ontario Hockey League has suspended Boulerice for one year. The American Hockey League, to recognize the OHL's suspension, has declared him ineligible to play until Nov. 15.
"I haven't seen anything quite as vicious as what happened on the ice," said AHL spokesman Will Wolper.
Flyers assistant general manager John Blackwell said the team hadn't been officially notified. He said the dispute was between the parties and had no further comment.
Andrew Long, 19, a Florida Panthers prospect, filed a complaint June 4 with Plymouth Township Police against Boulerice, who played for the Plymouth Whalers. Long, a center for the Guelph Storm in Ontario, was injured in an OHL championship series game April 17 in Plymouth Township, about 25 miles west of Detroit.
Long checked Boulerice into the boards behind the Storm net. Bou-lerice already was wearing a cast because of a broken hand. After a short shoving match, police said Boulerice hit Long across the face with a two-handed "baseball-type swing" of his stick.
Knocked unconscious, Long went into convulsions and was taken to an Ann Arbor hospital with a blood spot on his brain and a broken nose, nasal cavity and cheekbone. Twenty stitches were needed to close the cut from the tip of his nose to his lip.