BOUCHERVILLE, Monday, January 25, 2010 – The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Disciplinary Prefect, Raymond Bolduc, today announced that he has suspended Rouyn-Noranda Huskies forward Patrice Cormier for the remainder of the QMJHL regular season and playoffs.
"I would like to begin by saying how happy and relieved I am to see how much Mikael Tam’s condition has improved over the past few days. I hope he makes a quick recovery and that he is back playing soon," said QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau. "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teams’ medical staffs as well as the doctors and nurses at Rouyn-Noranda Hospital for their extraordinary work. Also, I would like to thank both organizations for supporting their players throughout this ordeal. Even though Patrice Cormier’s gesture was reprehensible, he must be able to count on the same support systems as any other Quebec Major Junior Hockey League player. Therefore, I have mandated Natacha Llorens, the coordinator of the League’s Players Help Program, to contact Patrice in order to offer him the support which he might need."
The Commissioner continued by explaining the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s process in the matter of disciplinary sanctions.
"We were made aware of the incident Sunday evening. Then, after reviewing the play on Monday morning, our Disciplinary Prefect, Raymond Bolduc informed me of his decision to suspend Patrice Cormier indefinitely. From the moment a player is suspended indefinitely, there is absolutely no reason to rush the process. In the case of incidents which we know will carry minimal disciplinary sanctions, decisions are usually made quickly in order to avoid penalizing teams who often play a high number of games in a relatively short time frame. But, in extraordinary cases such as this one, in order to protect the integrity of the process and the players involved in it, it is essential to take enough time to gather the facts by talking to the on-ice officials, reading their report and collecting the players’ and the organizations’ testimonies. Then, an independent committee is consulted before analyzing the facts and rendering a decision. In this case, the process ended this week-end."
Following the Commissioner’s opening statement, the Disciplinary Prefect, Raymond Bolduc, announced his decision.
"At the very start of the process, I read on-ice officials’ report. Then, I met with the Quebec Remparts, Mikael Tam, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, and Patrice Cormier and consulted the Disciplinary Committee before going over the facts and making my decision. The player’s gesture dangerous and intolerable. Our ultimate responsibility must be the safety of our players. It is our number one priority. Consequently, I have decided to suspend Patrice Cormier for the remainder of the QMJHL regular season and playoffs."
The Commissioner reiterated his commitment to eliminate all forms of gratuitous violence from the game.
"Hockey is a fast and physical game, and the conditions in which players play it necessitate that respect play as much a role as the rules and the disciplinary sanctions which are in place to protect them. But, regardless of the rules or the support systems we offer, as the game’s principal actors they are responsible for their actions. As such, they must be held accountable as do the coaches who lead them. Fundamentally, the players’ respect level for each other has to change markedly and I plan on addressing this important issue. As League Commissioner, it is my duty to put in place measures to educate our players and to hold them accountable. Gratuitous violence has no place in our great game. Through perseverance, we will ultimately eliminate it. The QMJHL must be a hockey league from which careers begin and flourish, not where they end."
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Mission Statement
The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s mission is to develop players for professional hockey while supporting them throughout their academic endeavors in order to mold them into responsible and educated citizens. It must offer high entertainment value within a profitable framework in order to ensure the continued success of its activities.
(Nathan also is a writer for Maineiacs Post to Post and the Maine Hockey Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)