FARMERS BRANCH — Texas amateur hockey officials spent Tuesday evening deciding the fate of players who fought on the ice during a recent high school state championship game.
The hearing was like a mini-trial. The Texas Amateur Hockey Association heard testimony from Keller and Arlington Martin high school players and coaches and also from the referees.
With one minute left in the March 27 state championship game, amateur video showed Arlington Martin player Jeff SoRelle skating full speed as he hit Keller's Travis Hall.
Seconds later, the video shows Keller's Braxton Mills delivering a blindside hit on SoRelle, leaving the Martin senior with a broken jaw and concussion.
Mills had nothing to say to reporters as he arrived for the hearing.
"He feels badly about what happened," said Keller Hockey president Kevin Wicks. "He's not characterized by that type of behavior at all. He's a good kid who made a bad decision."
Arlington Martin coach Louis Greco said he hasn't asked SoRelle about his intent when he hit the Keller player into the boards.
"The player that he made contact with wasn't injured," Greco said. "He got injured on the contact that was made with him. So which is worse? That's for them to decide."
Coach Greco said his team received a letter from Arlington Martin High School, banning the team from using the school's name.
These hockey clubs represent their schools in name only, but are not sanctioned by the University Interscholastic League or school districts.
Greco called the move "cowardly."
"Take the good with the bad," he said. "For 15 seconds they're going to ruin all the years of hard work that everybody's put into the hockey team."
The disciplinary action taken Tuesday night by the TAHA must also be approved by the national organization, USA Hockey. The punishment results will be made public on Wednesday or Thursday.