Hockey boss: 30 days not enough

TARINA WHITE -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:14 AM ET

The head of Hockey Calgary is concerned a month behind bars for a Calgary player who assaulted a referee may not be a harsh enough sentence to deter future violence.

Robert Joseph Simard, 23, was sentenced to 30 days in jail Wednesday by provincial court Judge Ian Kirkpatrick for attacking linesman Rory McCuaig after he had earlier been kicked out of a game in 2006 while playing for the Junior B Calgary Canucks.

Hockey Calgary president Perry Cavanagh said yesterday he wasn't surprised Simard received jail time.

"We were rather surprised at the duration of the sentence -- we thought it would have been significantly more," said Cavanagh.

"We have a sense the judge in this case was trying to send a strong message ... I'm not sure that it's strong enough."

Defence lawyer Alain Hepner had argued in a number of cases of hockey assaults, particularly for NHL bad boys Todd Bertuzzi and Marty McSorley, the players had been handed conditional discharges and the same should apply to his client.

But, Kirkpatrick backed the position of Crown Melissa Fenn that while players accept a certain amount of risk while playing the sport, referees are there to enforce the rules and shouldn't be placed in jeopardy for doing their jobs.

The fact McCuaig was hit several times also contributed to the severity of the sentence, Kirkpatrick said.


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