WHL player given probation for fatal crash

A promising junior hockey player has received probation and community service for a high-speed fatal crash that killed his girlfriend a year ago.

COCHRANE — A promising junior hockey player has received probation and community service for a high-speed fatal crash that killed his girlfriend a year ago.

The WHL player, who can’t be identified because he was a youth at the time, was driving 100 kilometres an hour over the posted speed limit when he crashed his car on a rural road west of Calgary on April 29, 2011.

“You will carry with you your actions the rest of your life. Good luck,” said Alberta Justice Gerry Meagher during sentencing Thursday.

He sentenced the player, who is now 18, to two years of probation and the maximum 240 hours of community service. He is also prohibited from driving for five years.

The young man is still playing in the WHL. His girlfriend was 18 when she died.

“She suffered the ultimate loss. There were 14 victim impact statements read into the court. The grief and heartbreak of her loss was palpable in the courtroom,” Meagher said.

Although the accused admitted that he and his girlfriend had been drinking the evening the crash occurred, Meagher said the Crown did not prove that it was a determining factor in the accident.

“The accident was the result of excessive speed alone.”

The victim’s mother, who cannot be identified, expressed her disappointment in a brief comment to reporters.

“There are no winners in something like this. Everybody’s hurting. Everybody’s lives have been changed forever,” she said softly.

“We feel that the communities have learned yet again that you can drink and drive and just get a slap on the wrist.”