Remparts goalie speaks out

Patrice Cormier is facing discipline from the QMJHL after a vicious hit on Sunday. (QMI Agency/Al...

Patrice Cormier is facing discipline from the QMJHL after a vicious hit on Sunday. (QMI Agency/Al Charest)

MIKE ZEISBERGER,, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:25 AM ET

WINDSOR — Louis Domingue wants Patrice Cormier kicked out of junior hockey for at least the rest of the season.

Serving as the backup goaltender for the Quebec Remparts, a horrified Domingue was sitting on the bench Sunday when Cormier came off the Rouyn-Noranda bench, wheeled through the neutral zone, then delivered The Elbow Heard ’Round Junior Hockey, leaving the Remparts’ Mikael Tam in hospital with a concussion.

Domingue knows Cormier. He has played on select teams with him. He admires the way Cormier captained Team Canada at the recent world junior championship in Saskatoon.

None of that matters.

In Domingue’s mind, like that of many in the hockey world, there simply is no excuse for Cormier’s vicious actions.

“I don’t think he wants to hurt people but he does that (crap),” Domingue said Tuesday night. “He’s got to know what the limits are.”

In this instance, Cormier didn’t. And now Domingue wants the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to throw the book at the high-flying Huskie.

“I really hope the league is tough here,” Domingue said. “This must stop.

“Patrice is a good guy. But there is no place in hockey for this.”

The image of the incident still is burned in Domingue’s mind.

“It was a dump in,” he said. “(Cormier) just flew by — I think he came off the bench — and hit (Mikael) in the head.

“(Tam) was my best friend on the team. He is going to be the captain next year if all goes well. It’s tough to see something like this happen ...”

It was not supposed to be like this for Louis Domingue. When he received the invite to attend the Top Prospects Game here in Windsor, he expected to be asked about his future, his NHL potential, his path for a pro career.

Instead he was peppered with queries about the Cormier affair, queries he fully understands after what took place in Rouyn-Noranda earlier this week.

For budding stars like the Louis Domingues, Taylor Halls and Tyler Seguins, the two-day prospects event, which includes the skills competition Tuesday followed by the actual game Wednesday night, has been overshadowed by the seemingly senseless acts by Cormier and the Windsor Spitfires Zack Kassian the past two days.

Attempting to sweep the Cormier and Kassian incidents under the rug is not an option for no-nonsense Canadian Hockey League president David Branch. At the same time the CHL has made a smart decision in not announcing the respective punishments to these two kids until Thursday, at the earliest, allowing some of the focus to sway back on those who have congregated in Windsor to showcase their skills heading into the June draft.

When incidents such as those involving Cormier and Kassian occur within mere days of each other, there are those who paint the CHL as some sort of Wild West on blades, complete with stick fights, cheap shots and any other brouhahas you can think of.

“The past two incidents are alarming based on perception,” said Branch, the commissioner of the Ontario Hockey League. “No question there is that fear that some people might feel junior hockey hasn’t changed. It’s unfair to be characterized that way.

“That’s not to diminish these incidents. Not in the least.”

Branch held a face-to-face meeting with Kassian in Windsor earlier Tuesday. Kassian left his feet to knock Barrie forward Matt Kennedy into la-la land last week, adding to Branch’s woes.

Meanwhile, Branch’s Quebec league counterpart, Gilles Courteau, has been conducting a similar investigation in the Cormier-Tam situation.

There were reports Tuesday night that Tam had started text messaging his teammates from hospital. Domingue had not received one by the time the skills competition had ended at Windsor’s WFCU Center, but he was encouraged at hearing that Tam might be communicating with other Rempart players.

A ray of light in an otherwise ugly situation.

mike.zeisberger@sunmedia.ca


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