WINNIPEG — The sentencing for a Winnipeg hockey dad who attacked rival parents following his son’s game has been put on ice while police investigate new complaints against him.
Paul Buchanan was set to learn his fate this week — only to have the hearing adjourned indefinitely because of the recent developments.
Lawyers told court that one of the original victims of Buchanan’s rage is claiming she has been followed and potentially harassed by him on at least two occasions since they were last in court.
Defence lawyer Josh Weinstein stressed that no charges have been laid and it’s not clear if any will be.
“These are unproven incidents,” he said.
Buchanan was convicted last December of assault, uttering threats to kill and criminal harassment for the 2009 incident. He remains free on bail.
Buchanan’s 12-year-old son played for a Fort Garry minor hockey league team that had just won a league game against another team from the area. While the players were still in their dressing rooms, Buchanan got involved in a heated discussion with the father of a player on the losing team as they sat in the canteen area of an arena in St. Norbert.
According to witnesses, Buchanan made a snide remark to the man about how poorly his losing team’s defence had just played — a comment the other parent took personally, as his son was a defenceman. The player in question had previously been on a team Buchanan coached, which prompted the boy’s father to tell Buchanan he was glad his son was now on a different team where “we don’t try to manipulate the kids.”
Witnesses said Buchanan angrily shoved the man into a wall, shouting, “I’m going to (expletive) kill you, you’re an (expletive).” Several other parents intervened, including a hockey mom who said Buchanan punched her in the breast. Buchanan was escorted out of the arena but was waiting outside when the initial victim came out for a cigarette. Witnesses said another melee ensued, with Buchanan ending up at the bottom of the pile.
Buchanan also made more than a dozen phone calls to the woman who intervened in the attack, despite the fact she repeatedly told him to stop calling.
Buchanan testified in his own defence and admitted he might have overreacted with the phone calls, saying he suffers from “social anxiety” and consumed a 12-pack of beer later that night, combined with some medication.
He claimed he was simply “humiliated” by what happened and “wanted to make things right.”
He denied initiating the fight at the arena, claiming the other parent verbally and physically attacked him for no reason.
Provincial court Judge Robert Heinrichs rejected that version of events, saying it didn’t ring true and was clearly self-serving in the face of overwhelming evidence.
» Winnipeg Free Press
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 19, 2012