STOCKHOLM — British-born Italian hockey player Thomas Larkin was charged with assault for blindsiding an opponent during a game last year, a Swedish prosecutor said Thursday.
Larkin hit Daniel Paille on the ice and left the Canadian with a severe concussion.
Prosecutor Joakim Johansson said the incident took place on Nov. 7, 2017, during a game between Swedish club Brynas and German team Adler Mannheim in Gavle. Larkin was playing for the German team.
According to the charge sheet obtained by The Associated Press, Paille is the plaintiff. After the hit, he was taken to an emergency room at a hospital in Gavle, 170 kilometres (105 miles) north of Stockholm.
Two days after the incident, Larking apologized on Twitter.
"It wasn’t my intention to cause an injury. I wanted to put pressure on the puck carrier behind the net. I would like to apologize to Daniel Paille and I hope he is back playing soon," Larkin wrote.
Johansson said last month’s ruling by Sweden’s Supreme Court where a Swedish hockey player was found guilty of assault for cross-checking an opponent paved the way for criminal prosecution.
Incidents on the ice in the NHL have also been brought to court, including in 2004 when Vancouver Canucks player Todd Bertuzzi was charged with assault for a sucker-punch that left Colorado’s Steve Moore with a broken neck. Bertuzzi pleaded guilty and was sentenced to probation and community service.
In 2000, Marty McSorley was charged with hitting Canucks player Donald Brashear with his stick. McSorley was convicted of assault with a weapon, but he received an 18-month conditional discharge, meaning no jail time and no criminal record after probation.
No date for a trial in the Larkin case was announced.