Before his professional hockey career begins, it's already apparent that Patrice Cormier has a reputation. It's not one you want to follow you very far.
Cormier was Team Canada's captain at the World Junior Championships, won by Team USA. While he established himself as a physical player, he also has shown the ability to cross the line. His latest act of line-crossing could lead to more than just a suspension.
Back with his junior team, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Cormier faced off against Patrick Roy's Quebec Remparts Sunday. As Cormier came off the bench for a change in overtime, he got defenseman Mikael Tam in his sights. The following video could be considered disturbing.
Cormier was ejected from the game. Tam was hospitalized with head injuries, and there is a report (via Puck Daddy) that he stopped breathing briefly after the hit.
Cormier, a draft pick of the NHL's New Jersey Devils, is no stranger to wayward elbows. Watch this video from a pre-WJC exhibition against Sweden.
On Twitter, respected TSN hockey analyst Bob McKenzie called the hit on Tam "sickening on so many levels."
This isn't a "keep your head up" play, and it isn't an accident. It's a brutal assault that goes far away from anything you should expect to experience while playing a game.
There is simply no place in sports for this type of behavior. Cormier crossed every line of fair competition, and he should pay a hefty price. Needless to say, it's going to be a long time before any other NHL team signs a kid who appeared to have a bright future as a grinder in the pros.