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12-year-old Windsor, Ont. hockey player appears in court after being charged with assault

A hockey parent from Windsor never believed he’d see his son in court.

Accompanied by his parents and brother, the 12-year-old boy made his first appearance in a London, Ont. courtroom Monday.

The child — whose identity is protected — is charged with assault causing bodily harm after a hockey fight in February.

“I did not believe this would go this far,” said the father, who can’t be named to protect the identity of his underage son. “I didn't think we would have to even appear. I figured the Crown would look at all the evidence and decide that this would be open and shut thing.”

The alleged assault took place at Earl Nichols Arena on Family Day weekend.

In the final game of a three-on-three tournament, a brawl occurred, and the benches cleared.

“One guy cross checked the other guy, which started a brawl between three guys,” the boy’s father explained.

He added, “Three guys from the other bench jumped off and started brawling with the other three. So that was six on three. When both benches cleared my son was still standing on the bench, kind of just watching everything. At the end, he saw one of his good friends being taken from behind, so my son wanted to protect his friend.”

The alleged assault occurred at Earl Nichols Arena in London, Ont. during a three-on-three hockey tournament on Family Day weekend in May 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)

About two weeks later, he said the London Police Service called, asking for a statement about what happened.

“She [the police officer] says ‘Well, the parents on the other team of the kid that got hurt, they want to charge,’” he said.

About four weeks later, he said the Windsor Police Service showed up at his door.

“He came in the house and we went through a bunch of paperwork and at the end of the day, they wanted him to plead guilty and I said no, and we couldn’t do the diversion program,” the father explained.

He said he became frustrated with the situation when his son was formally charged.

He came to London Police Service headquarters on May 17 to get fingerprinted.

"We're talking about getting fingerprinted and a mug shot done,” the boy’s father said. “I've never had that done in my lifetime. None of my family has. So for my son to do it, it was devastating."

He's not convinced his son was the one who gave the other player the concussion.

“I think more might have happened earlier in the game or it might happen in the game before. They had helmets and gloves on, and it was just one punch so it doesn’t seem right,” he said.

The family, who can not be named to protect the identity of the young hockey player, leaves the courthouse in London, Ont. on May 29, 2023. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)CTV News London spoke to the London Police Service who said they are unable able to provide any specific information regarding the investigation under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

The father said his son is trying to stay calm, but he’s definitely nervous.

“He really didn't want to be here [London Courthouse],” he said. “He kept asking us all weekend if he had to be here and but we told him we have to get this done.”

The family is in the process of retaining counsel and they will appear again via video in late June.

Until then, the father remains flabbergasted that his son is facing charges.

“I’ve been around hockey a long time and out of all the fights I’ve ever seen and injuries that have happened, I've never heard of this. So to have this happen to my 12 year old is just crazy, and mind boggling for anybody that plays hockey,” he said.

— With files from CTV News Windsor Top Stories

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