This was not your average father-and-son hockey game.
The dad was Jacques Beaulieu, 45, shown at right, the ex-coach and GM of the Sarnia Sting, who was out for golf and drinks with his son Nathan Beaulieu, 20 — a top Montreal Canadiens prospect — and a group of friends.
A few hours later, the father-son team pummelled a couple of acquaintances after Nathan Beaulieu had smashed a goalie stick during a friendly game in a friend’s garage.
All this caused the Beaulieus, a prominent Strathroy hockey family, black eyes for handing out black eyes.
On Wednesday, the father and son pleaded guilty to one count of assault. Each was assessed penalties of conditional discharges with nine months’ probation — a joint recommendation from the Crown and the defence.
A conditional discharge means a conviction is not registered as long as the offender abides by conditions set by the court.
The discharge will allow Nathan Beaulieu to continue his hockey career and freely move back and forth across the international border. He is training with the NHL team and is likely to be assigned to its farm organization.
The same goes for his dad, who, the court heard, is working as a hockey scout.
Their lawyer, Patrick Ducharme, told Ontario Court Justice Eleanor Schnall that what happened that night was “an isolated incident.”
Assistant Crown attorney Steve Monaghan set out what happened when golf, hockey and booze clashed with the Beaulieus.
The two men assaulted were brothers-in-law David VanGeffen and Wesley Vanderwal.
The Beaulieus, Van Geffen, Denton Hackney and two other men were together at the Caradoc Sands Golf club in Strathroy-Caradoc on April 27.
Vanderwal arrived to meet his brother-in-law for a meal and drinks. It seemed to Vanderwal that the entire party had been drinking, Monaghan said.
At about 10:30 p.m., the group retired to Hackney’s home where they played hockey in the large detached garage.
Both Beaulieus were seen damaging some of Hackney’s property. Nathan Beaulieu used a goalie stick to smash a net and break some hockey sticks belonging to Hackney’s kids.
Vanderwal thought this was wrong and told the Beaulieus they should stop.
That suggestion, Monaghan said, “seemed to enrage Jacques Beaulieu.” He walked up to Vanderwal and said “who the (expletive) do you think you are?”
And with that, Jacques Beaulieu grabbed Vanderwal by the left shirt sleeve and ripped it off. Both Beaulieus attacked Vanderwal, who tried to leave, but not before he was punched eight times in the face, Monaghan said.
He was chased to his pickup truck by the father and son and had to lock the doors to get away from them.
Vanderwal was home shortly after 11 p.m. and immediately got a call from VanGeffen, who was still at Hackney’s, Monaghan said.
VanGeffen reported he was assaulted by the Beaulieus because “he would not tell them Vanderwal’s address.”
Jacques Beaulieu had grabbed VanGeffen’s shirt and “rag-dolled him around the garage,” tearing it, Monaghan said. Nathan Beaulieu joined in and punched VanGeffen under the right eye.
Police were called and the Beaulieus were charged at the Strathroy-Caradoc police station the next day.
Vanderwal was bruised under the left eye and had a broken blood vessel in the eye. He also had a sore neck and scratches to his neck. VanGeffen was scratched under the right eye, and experienced soreness to his chest and wrist and scratches to both hands.
Outside the courtroom, Ducharme said his clients wouldn’t be commenting on the case.
The Montreal Canadiens aren’t commenting on what happened in court, a team spokesperson said.
“Nathan Beaulieu will be at our training camp as planned,” said spokesperson Donald Beauchamp.
The camp is slated to begin next month.
— With files from Kelly Pedro, Free Press reporter