Hockey players suspended after fight caught on tape

Print
Email
|

by CASEY NORTON

WFAA

Posted on March 30, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 30 at 8:56 PM

EULESS — A hearing next week will determine possible sanctions after a high school hockey brawl.

It happened during the state championship game on Sunday that pitted Keller High against Arlington Martin High.

As the game was ending, Keller player Braxton Mills hit Arlington Martin player Jeff SoRelle in the head. That blow sent SoRelle flat to the ice with a concussion and broken jaw. SoRelle had started a fight seconds earlier with a Keller player.

SoRelle and Mills have both been indefinitely suspended from amateur youth hockey play.

USA Hockey officials told News 8 they have seen the video and read the officials' reports about the game, and in their words: "Things don't look good."

But the regulatory body is keeping an eye on how the Texas Amateur Hockey Association handles this situation.

Both players took their shots on the ice; now they face the consequences.

Mills and SoRelle will face an amateur hockey disciplinary committee to explain why they were called for the championship game's worst penalty.

"It was an intent to injure," said Keith Andresen, a TAHA executive. "The referees felt that their actions were strictly an intent to injure a player and not part of the course of the game."

The case could also end up in court because of that intent to injure.

The NHL's Todd Bertuzzi was charged with assault for a blindside punch that ended another player's career.

Fort Worth attorney Jim Stanley saw the video replay of the Keller-Arlington Martin brawl. He said because Mills entered the fight late and came from off the ice, he could open himself to a criminal case or lawsuit for SoRelle's concussion and broken jaw.

"I think we have to look at what reasonable people expect from a hockey game," Stanley said. "Do they expect one thing from a professional hockey game and do you expect another thing from an amateur game and another thing from a high school?"

So far, no charges or lawsuits have been filed, but the players will have to defend themselves when they face a statewide committee on Tuesday.

"Basically, the players come in; they talk about what they did; hopefully show some remorse and accountability; and then the hearing and disciplinary committee makes a determination of what, if any, further suspensions apply," Andresen said.

Representatives with USA Hockey and the Texas Amateur Hockey Association told News 8 they can't remember a specific case where a lawsuit or a criminal case was filed because of a hockey fight. They did say that it happens all the time in Canada, and now they're keeping an eye on Texas.

E-mail cnorton@wfaa.com

Print
Email
|