Hockey player beats girlfriend in ‘shocking’ attack

A former junior hockey player who beat his girlfriend in what a judge called a ”shocking” attack in April — leaving her with broken teeth

A former junior hockey player who beat his girlfriend in what a judge called a ”shocking” attack in April — leaving her with broken teeth — has avoided jail.

Isaac Willard was instead handed 75 days of house arrest and ordered to pay more than $6,600 in restitution to cover his victim’s medical expenses.

Willard, 23, had no criminal record on April 17, when he went to a Chase pub with friends to watch a playoff hockey game.

Crown prosecutor Monica Fras said Willard’s then-girlfriend showed up at about 11 p.m., noting the pair stayed until the pub closed at 1 a.m.

Walking to Willard’s home, Fras said, the former hockey player became irritable. He said Willard began repeating himself and then told his girlfriend to “f–k off.”

She began trailing him as they walked, court heard, until he turned around and grabbed her by the hair, forcing her to the ground.

Willard held her on the ground, punching her in the face and kicking her in the ribs. A neighbour heard the woman’s screams and called 911.

Fras said the victim was left with injuries to her nose and right ear, as well as several broken teeth.

Defence lawyer Don Campbell said Willard played hockey at a high level since the age of eight and began abusing alcohol as a teenager.

For his part, Willard apologized.

“I’m sorry to her and the family,” he said, not turning to face the victim and her relatives seated in the first row of the Kamloops courtroom gallery on Thursday.

“I don’t know what happened. She’s a really good person and I really messed up.”

Provincial court Judge Stephen Harrison called the attack “shocking” and had harsh words for Willard.

“It was a particularly nasty assault that you embarked on for no reason,” he said.

“It turns out that the only thing she shouldn’t have been doing was being in your presence — but she didn’t know that, did she?”

Harrison sentenced Willard to 75 days of house arrest, followed by an 18-month probation term with orders barring him from having contact with the victim and from consuming alcohol.

In addition, Willard was ordered to pay $6,600 in restitution and to submit a sample of his DNA to a national criminal database. He will also be bound by a 10-year firearms ban.

Willard played with the Chase Heat in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League in the 2011-2012 season, amassing 16 points and 28 penalty minutes in 36 games. He also played one game for the Chase Chiefs, the Heat’s predecessor, in the 2009-2010 KIJHL season.

 

Salmon Arm Observer

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