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Colorado youth hockey player facing charge for alleged assault on ice

Colorado youth hockey player facing charge for alleged assault on ice
Posted at 10:25 PM, Nov 28, 2022

LITTLETON, Colo. — A Colorado youth hockey player is facing a municipal assault charge for their alleged actions on the ice, according to a redacted police report obtained by Denver7.

The incident happened during a tournament for various competitive club teams on Saturday at the Ice Ranch in Littleton. Denver7 has chosen not to identify the specific teams involved.

Mickey Keenan identified his 15-year-old son, Xander, as the player who was assaulted.

"My wife and I, we were upstairs at the Ice Ranch and watching him, just in shock," Mickey said. "I saw the few kicks, I saw the tackle. And then I, you know, threw my barstool to the side and started running down the stairs to see what was happening."

At the time, the opposing team was on a 5-3 power play, the report states.

According to the police report, Xander told authorities he was skating towards the corner of the ice in order to get the puck. The opposing player's skate went behind Xander's skate, and he tripped, according to the 15-year-old. Xander said he landed on top of the opposing player's hockey stick.

While trying to grab his stick, the opposing player pushed Xander back down onto the ice, Xander told police. He said he tried to get up again, but the opposing player pushed him down again. Xander told authorities his head fell on the ice and he couldn't see anything, but he felt three kicks to the head.

Xander looked up and saw the opposing player fighting Xander's teammates in the corner, according to the report.

Xander said he didn't have any lacerations from the incident but did have a persistent headache.

Authorities also spoke with the juvenile hockey player accused of the assault. According to the report, he told Littleton police he tried to skate away but couldn't because Xander was holding his leg. He said he kicked him, but Xander wouldn't let go, so he kicked him again. The juvenile told authorities Xander was still holding on, so he kicked a third time.

After that kick, the juvenile "realized, 'Oh shit,'" according to the report. The investigator "asked [the juvenile] what he meant by that and he said, 'I realized I probably could have killed him,'" the document states.

Both Xander and the accused player told authorities no major issues occurred during the game prior to the incident. When the investigator pressed the accused player on what prompted his alleged behavior, the player said he was "pissed off" about "sh— talking."

"I don't think his actions were warranted by a little bit of trash talk or me holding a stick," Xander said during an interview with Denver7.

"You're wearing two extremely sharp knives. And it has happened in the NHL — necks have been sliced open. Kicking anywhere near the head or anywhere on the body, as you see it with young kids, you quickly stop that. You know, when they're five, six, they don't know any better. When they're 13, 14, they know that it's the end of their career. If they do that. They know they're never playing again. You know, because it's just too dangerous. You can kill somebody. It's one of the few sports where we carry weapons but you're trying not to use them as weapons," Mickey added.

Xander and his father hope the incident would be a learning lesson for other players.

"At the end of the day, it's just a game. I mean, we play to win, it's a physical game, but we're all out there to have fun and, you know, just play a game," the 15-year-old said.

The municipal charge means the case will be heard in a city court by city prosecutor — low-level offenses are often prosecuted in municipal courts.

According to the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA), the player facing the municipal assault charge has been suspended from all CAHA and USA hockey games and practices. The suspension stays in place until there is a formal hearing, which is supposed to happen in the next 30 days.