Watch Brandon Day’s court appearance Thursday, April 6, 2017. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, for attacking a hockey referee at SUNY Broome Community College. Anthony Borrelli / Staff video
Brandon Day, right, pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault in Dickinson Town Court. He‘s joined by his lawyer, Chris Brown, center. District Attorney Steve Cornwell, left, prosecuted at the court appearance.(Photo: Anthony Borrelli / Staff Photo)Buy Photo
A hockey player pleaded guilty Thursday to assaulting a referee on the ice during a game at SUNY Broome Community College.
, 19, a freshman Erie Community College student from Cheektowaga, appeared in Dickinson Town Court for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor count of third-degree assault. He was facing that and several other charges in connection with the Feb. 26 incident at a National Junior College Athletic Association championship game, played at SUNY Broome.
According to authorities, Day had been sent to the penalty box for a game infraction and exited after serving nearly the full penalty time. He then skated toward a 62-year-old referee and pushed him to the ice with 39 seconds left in the game. Video from the incident showed the referee was not looking at Day before he was pushed down.
Erie Community College (NJCAA) player storms out of penalty box to level referee late in 3rd period, ending national title game
— Sports Illustrated ()
Day‘s guilty plea will put him on probation for three years, which District Attorney Steve Cornwell said was a fair outcome.
“The video was despicable, but the person (Day) is not the person you see in that video, so sometimes you see people at their worst,” Cornwell said after Thursday‘s court appearance. “The defendant had some issues and took responsibility immediately, and made steps to address what was going on.”
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Investigators determined Day struck the referee intentionally, causing the referee an injury to his right shoulder and right hip, also causing him to lose consciousness.
After the incident, officials stopped the game, giving Dakota College of Bottineau a 7-4 championship victory.
Day was later charged with misdemeanor counts of third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal mischief, along with disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment violations.
According to court papers, the referee told law enforcement he lost consciousness after being knocked down, he woke up on the ice, and he was helped back to the locker room, where a team‘s doctor examined him.
The incident may have resulted in ligament injuries to his right shoulder, along with a “deep bruise” to the right arm, court papers said.
“I have had no problem with the player that hit me,” the referee told police. “I don‘t know him.”
Day‘s defense lawyer, Chris Brown, said his client has been diagnosed with stress and anxiety issues, and he‘s been getting treatment for that. The plea agreement also required Day to pay $525 for damage he caused in the SUNY Broome locker room, as well as pay toward the referee‘s medical expenses.
“He‘s taken every step he can to make amends,” Brown said Thursday.
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