It was a single blow in a Lillooet bar, but it left the victim with a metal plate and screws in his skull after reconstructive surgery to his face.
Jordan Hawryluk, 27, was given a conditional discharge Thursday in provincial court for assault causing bodily harm, an offence that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.
Defence counsel Fred Kaatz asked for an absolute discharge.
The offence took place two summers ago, when Hawryluk's friend and co-worker was involved in an altercation with Clay Walker. Hawryluk was tempted to leave the bar but went to assist and struck Walker once.
"We see fighting in hockey games," Kaatz said. "You don't expect someone to be hurt in the way he was."
"I'm very sorry for my actions," Hawryluk told the court. "I've definitely learned from this. I promise you won't see me again."
Hawryluk is a B.C. Hydro linesman, a UCC grad, a former Rocky Mountain Ranger reservist and a former St. John Ambulance volunteer.
Judge Chris Cleaveley noted that Walker suffered a serious injury, but said it was Hawryluk's friend who bears responsibility for the fight.
"In my view, this was an isolated incident," the judge said. "I'm satisfied it's not in the community's best interest that Mr. Hawryluk leave the courtoom with a criminal record."
However, he ordered Hawryluk to serve 40 hours of community service and to have no contact with either the victim or the friend and colleague who was involved in the fight. He is barred from consuming or possessing alcohol, must provide a DNA sample and pay a $100 victim of crime surcharge fine.