In case you haven’t seen this horrific headshot (or killshot as Kyle Roussel put it on twitter), check out the clip below. The most recent captain of the Canadian World Junior team, Patrice Cormier, delivers an elbow to Mikael Tam in a QMJHL game this weekend.
This was Cormier’s third game with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. He was recently traded from the Rimouski Oceanic to the Huskies earlier this month to help with their playoff drive and Memorial Cup chances. It’s probably a safe assumption Comier’s season is over as a result of this hit, however, no punishment has been announced yet.
According to KuklasKorner and other various reports, Tam is in stable condition with no brain damage and a few missing teeth. Patrick Roy, the owner and coach of the Quebec Remparts (Tam’s team), has reportedly filed a complaint with the local police.
** A quick update- 4:30pm
There are some unconfirmed reports that suggest Tam might have suffered serious brain trauma after all. At this point, I personally have no additional knowledge of the situation. I’m only reporting what I’ve heard/read. I hope Tam recovers soon and quickly.
** Suspension update- Jan 25, 2010
Cormier was suspended for the balance of the season and playoffs (including the Memorial Cup) – a maximum of 48 possible games. This is the longest suspension in QMJHL history.
When we see headshots and nasty hits like this in Junior hockey leagues, more often than not, it’s from players who are in their final Junior years (generally speaking – not always the case). Punishments usually ends up as suspensions for the remainder of the year and that’s it. How about having a punishment that affects these players future? In Cormier’s case, he’s a New Jersey Devils draft pick. How about delaying his pro career by a number of games or months, etc…? Perhaps this isn’t realistic, but something else needs to be done – the punishment can’t end once the Huskies season concludes. Cormier’s actions affect the Huskies (who traded talent/prospects to acquire his services), the Remparts, the life of Tam, and possibly the New Jersey Devils.
I believe Junior hockey needs to deliver punishments that follow these players around for longer than a year ending suspension plus a bad reputation. This would serve as a good opportunity for the NHL and Canadian Junior leagues to ensure a strong message about player safety is sent. Another suggestion would be for Cormier to spend time with minor hockey programs to ensure they understand safety and the do’s and don’t of the game. Consider it community service or something. Let’s make Cormier the poster boy for everything the game doesn’t need. This hit was anything but classy and it should be Cormier’s job to make as much of a positive contribution to hockey as he’s made negative contributions from this hit.
Stay classy, Mikael Tam. Hopefully you have a speedy recovery.