Hockey coach pleads guilty to tripping 13-year-old boy

Martin Joseph George Tremblay tripped two Richmond hockey players. - still from Youtube video
Martin Joseph George Tremblay tripped two Richmond hockey players.
— image credit: still from Youtube video

A hockey coach who tripped a 13-year-old Richmond boy following a minor hockey championship game at the University of B.C. last June, pled guilty Tuesday to one count of assault against two boys in Richmond provincial court.

Martin Joseph George Tremblay, 48, entered the surprise guilty plea during a Tuesday morning court appearance.

"He feels horrible about what occurred and he's written a sincere letter of apology to the two boys which was given to the prosecutor today," said Tremblay's lawyer, Robert Bellows. "He's hoping they will forgive him at some point."

Bellows said he will argue for a non-custodial sentence, meaning no jail time for his client, who is a first-time offender. His sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 31, 2013.

"This is a most unfortunate incident," Bellows said. "There will be a lot of explanation and a lot of context, and a lot of information abot what's happening with him emotionally. There's a lot the public hasn't heard yet."

Bellows said his client's emotional state will be used as a mitigating factor in sentencing arguments, but said his client has "accepted responsibility for his actions."

The tripping incident occurred following the game, during the traditional handshake ceremony. The incident was captured on videotape and has since been viewed by millions of people around the world.

In the video, which was posted to YouTube, the coach is seen lining up to shake hands, and then sticking out his foot and tripping two of the opposing team's players, sending them tumbling to the ice.

Afterward, he points his finger at the taller of two players who fell.

Richmond Steel volunteer team manager Tammy Hohlweg said the coach had been "point and yelling at the taller boy" prior to the trip, and appeared to be targetting him alone, with the second smaller player being caught up in what happened.

Crown counsel Gerri-Lyn Nelson could not be reached before press time about whether she will be seeking jail time for Tremblay.

Tremblay was handcuffed and arrested by Mounties, who arrived about 15 minutes after the incident.

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