Cormier pleads guilty

Patrice Cormier plead guilty and was granted an absolute discharge for levelling a junior hockey...

Patrice Cormier plead guilty and was granted an absolute discharge for levelling a junior hockey player in January. (QMI Agency/Christian Matte)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

ROUYN-NORANDA, Que. -- Atlanta Thrashers centre Patrice Cormier will not have a criminal record after pleading guilty Tuesday to assault causing injury for a vicious hit in a junior hockey game last season.

Cormier, 20, of Moncton, N.B., was granted an absolute discharge for levelling a Quebec Remparts player during a game on Jan. 17.

Cormier, then of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, was suspended for the rest of the 2009-2010 season by the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. It's the harshest sentence ever handed down by the league.

Cormier's guilty plea before Quebec court Judge Marc Grimard represented an about-face: he had initially pleaded not guilty through his lawyer last month.

The discharge allows Cormier to cross the U.S. border and continue his hockey career.

Video of Cormier's Jan. 17 hit against defenceman Mikael Tam made national headlines after the young man was seen convulsing on the ice. He was later taken to hospital with serious injuries and said he had no memory of the hit.

Cormier was charged in May following an investigation by Quebec provincial police.

The incident added to the ongoing debate about how to deal with violent hits in hockey.


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