Brett Cook given lifetime ban for slugging linesman
|Nipissing University defenceman Brett Cook, who previously played with the London Knights, was banned for life by the OUA for punching an official during a game this season. (MIKE HENSEN/QMI Agency)
Taking a swing at a linesman has cost defenceman Brett Cook his Ontario university hockey career.
Ontario University Athletics ruled Wednesday that the Nipissing Lakers rookie is banned from playing hockey for the duration of his time at an OUA-sanctioned university.
Cook, the 6-foot-1 sociology student who played five years in the OHL — four with the Erie Otters and his last with the London Knights — before moving on to Nipissing, was given what amounts to a lifetime suspension after slugging linesman Nicholas Piche during a playoff game against UQTR in Quebec. Nipissing lost the game, ending their season.
The incident occurred following a third-period scrap between Cook and a UQTR player. Piche grabbed Cook and attempted to direct him towards the penalty box when another scrum broke out.
According to a statement from the OUA, Cook then delivered a punch to Piche’s face that knocked the official to the ice.
“Upon review by the OUA men’s hockey review panel, consisting of the OUA men’s hockey convenor and a representative of the OUA Sport Committee, Brett Cook has been banned from participating in any OUA-sanctioned competition for the remainder of his university career,” the OUA said in a press release.
Cook had four years of university eligibility remaining. It’s unknown if the sanction would be honoured by the other CIS conferences but it sounds like Cook will continue with his studies at North Bay-based Nipissing.
“I know Brett is very remorseful for his actions and has cooperated fully with both the OUA review and Nipissing’s internal review,” Lakers coach Mike McParland said.“Brett is a good student and the university is helping him realize his goals. On behalf of the Lakers team, all of the players and coaching staff, we want Brett to know that we are here to support him.”
Since the incident, Cook has sent a letter of apology to Piche, expressing his regret for his actions during the game.
“What I did was wrong, plain and simple,” Cook said in the OUA release. “My actions were unacceptable and I take full responsibility. My teammates, coaches and I are thankful that Mr. Piche was not hurt. I am deeply sorry for my actions, for embarrassing my university, the OUA, the CIS and the dignity of the game of hockey and I fully accept the sanctions determined by the OUA.”
In his first year in the OUA, Cook had two goals, five assists and 62 penalty minutes. In his OHL career he had 19 goals, 47 assists and 344 penalty minutes.