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Canadian police open criminal investigation into ice hockey hit

Boston Bruins’ Zdeno Chara faces prosecution after opponent suffered cracked verterbra.

Image: Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press/Press Association Images

MONTREAL POLICE OPENED a criminal investigation Thursday into the on-ice hit by Boston’s Zdeno Chara that left the Canadiens’ Max Pacioretty with a severe concussion and cracked verterbra.

Police said they are acting on a request by Quebec’s director of criminal and penal prosecutions, Louis Dionne. Police added that after evidence is collected it will then be determined if there are grounds for prosecution.

The NHL said a day earlier it would not suspend Chara for Tuesday night’s hit, when he slammed Pacioretty into a glass partition.


There has been strong debate this season over injuries from hits to the head. Pittsburgh star Sidney Crosby is among those sidelined with such an injury.

In a related matter, Air Canada has told the NHL it is considering withdrawing its sponsorship unless the league tightens rules to reduce potentially serious injuries.

Dionne filed his request for an investigation after watching television footage of Chara’s hit, his spokeswoman said.

“The police investigation will be held. Like all police investigations, evidence will be gathered and an investigation report will be submitted, spokeswoman Martine Berube said.

“(The DCPP) will then evaluate to see whether there’s grounds for prosecution.”

Asked what kind of punishment could be assessed in a case like Chara’s, she replied: “It’s too early to say. That would depend on what charges are laid. That’s a little difficult to predict at this point.”

Associated Press

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