THE CANADIAN PRESS
MONTREAL — The son of legendary hockey NHL goaltender Patrick Roy was charged Thursday with assaulting a rival during a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff game last March.
Quebec Remparts goaltender Jonathan Roy, 19, faces one count of assault against Chicoutimi Sagueneens netminder Bobby Nadeau. He returns to court Sept. 16.
In a fracas that was replayed countless times across the country, Roy skated the length of the ice and pummelled Nadeau, who made no attempt to fight back.
During a lopsided first-round playoff game that Chicoutimi would ultimately win 10-1 and with the home team up 7-1 late in the second period, Roy barrelled into Nadeau and pummelled him with repeated blows.
Patrick Roy, who was behind the Remparts bench as their coach, denied playing any role in the melee, although he appeared to urge on his son with a wave moments before the attack.
After being restrained briefly by an official, Jonathan Roy skated to the Chicoutimi goal, pulled off Nadeau’s mask and threw several punches, even when the Sagueneens goalie was on the ice.
The younger Roy ended the performance by giving the one-finger salute with each hand to Chicoutimi fans.
Chicoutimi defenceman Sebastien Rioux then jumped Roy and another fight ensued.
Patrick Roy, who is also the Quebec City team’s general manager, was suspended for five games and his son for seven over the melee.
Jonathan Roy apologized in the days following the brawl for his rude gesture toward the fans, but not for the fight.
The brawl set off a firestorm of criticism about violence in junior hockey as YouTube videos of the skirmish were viewed worldwide.
Quebec’s minister responsible for sport, Michelle Courchesne, asked QMJHL commissioner Gilles Courteau to submit a report containing anti-fighting proposals and asked Hockey Quebec to stiffen sanctions for fighting in minor hockey leagues.
Courchesne has said she wants new rules in place for the start of next season.
A spokeswoman says discussions are continuing with Hockey Quebec, which oversees minor hockey in the province, and a report from the junior league is expected in mid-August.
But one criminal lawyer says the Crown’s decision to proceed with charges sends a strong message that there are limits, even in contact sports where a certain level of rough and aggressive play is expected and the risk is assumed.
"The prosecution is sending a warning that while some things might be tolerated in sports, other actions won’t be tolerated," said Montreal defence lawyer Robert La Haye.
"Rough play and violence, within the norms, is permitted.
"But the Crown is saying this level of violence is considered reprehensible and prohibited, on or off the ice, and there are norms that shouldn’t be surpassed."
The QMJHL had no comment on the charge Thursday and said Roy is still eligible to play in the upcoming season.
For his part, Nadeau claimed he was indifferent about the decision to press charges.
"I’ve gone on to other things," he told French-language television network TVA. "I’m getting ready for next season and if I have to testify, I’ll go testify."
Nadeau, 20, led the QMJHL this season with a 2.63 goals-against average in 46 games and was traded to the PEI Rockets during the off season.
A receptionist answering the phones at the Remparts’ team offices said nobody was available for comment.
If found guilty of the summary offence, Roy faces a maximum $2,000 fine and up to six months in prison.