NORRISTOWN, Pa. (AP) — Two former Philadelphia-area high school hockey players have been placed on probation and ordered to do community service after being convicted of assaulting members of a rival team during a playoff game last year.
Jurors in Montgomery County deliberated for nearly 11 hours over two days before convicting 19-year-old Brock Anderson and 20-year-old Jake Cross of misdemeanor simple assault and conspiracy charges Friday, The (Pottstown) Mercury reported.
Judge Richard Haaz sentenced both to one year of probation and 100 hours of community service, saying they “disrespected the game of hockey” and all of their coaches over the years.
“One of your defenses in this case was that sucker-punching an opponent is an acceptable and foreseeable risk of playing ice hockey. The jury rejected this defense,” Haaz said.
Prosecutors said several Ridley High School seniors attacked CB West players at a Hatfield ice rink in March 2017 during the Eastern Pennsylvania Insterscholastic Hockey Association Class 2A quarterfinal game. Three CB West players were injured, including one with a broken nose and a broken bone around his eye.
During the trial, several CB West players testified they didn’t fight back because they feared they would be suspended from their next game, the tournament semi-final.
Jurors deadlocked on an assault charge against a third player who was acquitted of conspiracy. Prosecutors didn’t immediately say whether he would be retried on the assault charge.
Defense attorneys accused prosecutors of trying to “criminalize” a hockey fight and said their clients didn’t intend to injure the other players. They emphasized that the defendants didn’t use their hockey sticks, kick the other players with their skates or try to take their masks off.
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