Patrice Cormier knew a hefty suspension was looming following a violent elbow that left opponent Mikael Tam seizing on the ice during a QMJHL game last week.

Yesterday, the 19-year-old New Jersey Devils prospect found out his fate: a season-long suspension that includes the playoffs, according to TSN.

In conjunction with his suspension, Cormier will be ineligible to play for the Devils and their AHL affiliate.

A video of the graphic hit can be seen below (at the one minute mark), and Zach Boslett’s FF article following the event can be read here.

“You see it clearly on the video that it’s an elbow, but, as I’ve said, it was a reflex,” Cormier rationalized to RDS soon after the incident. “I tried to check him. I had no idea I hit him in the head, but obviously I did. It was never my intention to cause any injuries.”

Originally, most parties involved appeared to be okay with the decision of QMJHL Chief disciplinarian Raymond Bolduc.

  • “I fully respect the Quebec Major Junior League’s decision regarding the Mikael Tam incident,” Cormier said in a statement released by Halifax-based agent Tim Cranston, via CTV Montreal. “I deeply regret the circumstances surrounding this event and wish Mikael Tam a speedy and full recovery.”
  • “We will honour the league’s suspension, have not considered, and will not explore other avenues for his return this season,” Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello said in a team release. “We are pleased to hear Mikael Tam is doing well. Our thoughts are with him for a full recovery.”

Now, Cormier, the captain of Canada’s World Junior Championship entry this winter, and his team, the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, plan to appeal the suspension.

“The Huskies have never tried to minimize or diminish the incident that took place on Jan. 17, it was a regrettable incident for all involved,” Huskies coach André Tourigny said, according to The Globe and Mail. “As we said before the league’s disciplinary committee, we were fully conscious that this act deserved a severe sanction. From our point of view, the sanction the QMJHL imposed yesterday is not severe, it is excessive.”

Meanwhile, a criminal investigation remains in place by Quebec police, who have interviewed Tam’s coach, legendary NHL goalie Patrick Roy.

As for Tam, he remains on a positive track of recovery, but isn’t out of the woods yet.

“Today I am not sure how long I will be away from the game,” Tam admitted Friday, according to TSN. “I have suffered a traumatic brain injury, I have lost a few teeth and I feel very tired. With the help of the medical staff, my goal is to return to the ice at some point.”

He later added: “I am a winner and a warrior and I will try and come back as soon as I can. My desire is to find again the passion that I had playing hockey and I will play hockey again.”