Beer leagues are a way for adult men and women to get together in a controlled environment, suit up and live out their inner desire to play sports.
While the designation of a beer league infers that there’s a laid back atmosphere, there are always a few players that go too far and can’t walk the fine line between fun and inappropriate competitiveness.
This is especially the case in beer league hockey. We’re not talking about softball, here.
As you know, hockey itself can be a brutal sport and NHL players are some of the biggest badasses in the world of sports, often times sacrificing their faces and bodies to step in front of 100 mile-per-hour slap shots, dropping gloves to honor their teammates with on-ice fights and crushing each other with bone-crunching hits into the boards and in open ice.
While checking or any physical contact is usually banned in beer leagues, sometimes things can get out of hand. That’s what happened in the video below. Keep an eye on the goalie.
As you can clearly see, the goaltender, Todd Ball, clearly slashed the opposing player across the face in the 3-on-3 tournament that was held in Fort Erie, Ontario last summer. The play was completely unwarranted and was incredibly dangerous.
According to Pete Blackburn of Fox Sports, the recipient of the vicious hit, 27-year-old Ryan Cox, suffered a concussion, broken nose and fractured orbital bone as a result. He also needed six plates in his face and underwent facial reconstruction surgery and is not yet done dealing with the lingering effects of the injuries.
The act was also criminal. Ball received 30 days in jail as a punishment for the assault, but Cox isn’t satisfied.
“He only got 30 days for breaking someone’s face. My life has never been the same,” Cox told the St. Catharines Standard. “I can’t feel my face. It is numb. I get bad headaches. It is hard for me to sleep. I’ve had facial surgeries and reconstructions. The sentence was too lenient. It’s an injustice. It’s ridiculous.”
The offender also got off easy in how he will serve his jail time. According to Blackburn, Ball will serve his sentence in prison intermittently on weekends and will also serve one year of probation.
While sports can be a vehicle to expel pent-up anger in positive ways, sometimes athletes cross the line, even in a beer league setting. This was one of those times.