TORONTO (AP) — Devils draft pick Patrice Cormier will appeal his suspension for the remainder of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season and playoffs for a violent hit on an opposing player.
Cormier, a 19-year-old forward selected in the second round of the 2008 draft by New Jersey, was disciplined by the QMJHL for elbowing Mikael Tam of the Quebec Remparts. The blow to the head sent Tam into convulsions on the ice.
The team announced Tuesday an appeal would be made.
Andre Tourigny, Cormier's coach with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, called Cormier's hit "regrettable" and said it deserved "severe" punishment. But Tourigny also said the suspension was "excessive."
The 18-year-old Tam spent two days in the hospital because of brain trauma.
Cormier, who was captain of the Canadian world junior team, signed a three-year contract with the Devils last summer.
Cormier gave a short statement to The Canadian Press after the team announced it would appeal the suspension.
"I respect the decision of the QMJHL even if I find it too severe. I deeply regret the circumstances surrounding this event and I wish Mikael Tam a speedy and full recovery."
He declined to answer questions.
A spokesman for the QMJHL said the league had no comment on the appeal and added it had yet to receive the appropriate paperwork. No date for a hearing has been set and Cormier will remain suspended during the appeal process.
The league gave one of the longest suspensions in its history to Cormier on Monday for his hit in a Jan. 17 game on Tam.
Cormier had already served two games and is to miss the Huskies' 18 remaining regular season games, plus the playoffs. He had a five days to appeal.
If the suspension is upheld, Cormier would not be allowed to play for the Devils — or their AHL affiliate — until his team is eliminated from the QMJHL playoffs.
Video of the ugly hit has been replayed numerous times over the past week in Canada and has nearly 160,000 views on YouTube.com.
On the play, Cormier had just come off the bench, when he caught Tam with an elbow near center ice when the defenseman did not have the puck.