League says DeFrias can play; but TRU remains quiet

'Events occurred prior to him joining TRU and playing hockey for the WolfPack'

Cam Fortems / Kamloops Daily News
December 20, 2012 01:00 AM

A former Kamloops Storm player who was convicted this month of assault causing bodily harm will not be prevented from playing for the TRU WolfPack by the governing league.

Chris Hans, general manager of the TRU WolfPack hockey club, said Thursday he received word from B.C. Intercollegiate Hockey League that nothing in its rules forbid players with criminal records from participating.

"Because the events occurred prior to him joining TRU and playing hockey for the WolfPack, they don't see a place for them as a league to bring sanctions so they won't even consider the matter," Hans said.

Hans said junior hockey also has no rules regarding players with criminal records participating and representing their respective cities.

But the fate of the team's leading goal scorer remains in the hands of the university and club itself, as well as a B.C. provincial court judge who will sentence De Frias next month.

De Frias - then a star with the Junior B Kamloops Storm -was partying downtown in October last year when he attacked Andrew Giddens outside a bar. Judge Chris Cleaveley found DeFrias guilty of assault causing bodily harm.

De Frias punched Giddens twice, knocking out four teeth and breaking his jaw. Cleavely ruled there was no real provocation and Giddens did not engage willingly in a fight. The two were part of opposing groups that exchanged words earlier that evening.

A spokesman for Thompson Rivers University said it will not decide on De Frias's future until after Christmas. The hockey club carries the university name but is an independent organization.

Hans said his decision as general manager of the club will be based on practicality, due to the fact an American university is part of the six-team league.

"For anyone going across the border, being convicted of a criminal offence is difficult," Hans said. "We have a member in Eastern Washington. Those are things we need to think about."

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