Michigan senior defenseman Chris Fox was arraigned on a felony assault charge Wednesday in connection with an incident last June in a recreational hockey league.
According to reports from the Associated Press and the Ann Arbor (Mich.) News, Fox, 21, allegedly hit a member of an opposing team in the face with his hockey stick June 15 during a game in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. A six-month investigation of the incident ensued, partly because Fox refused to identify himself to the referee, and none of his teammates would do so either.
The victim, Robert Thomas, 20, of Waterford, Mich., eventually identified Fox as his attacker from a Michigan team photograph. Thomas lost at least one tooth and underwent two root canals as a result of the attack, which Oakland County Prosecutor David Gorcyca called “a very serious crime.”
If convicted of assault with intent to do great bodily harm, Fox could receive a 10-year prison sentence. Prosecutors also declared their intent to seek financial compensation for the victim’s medical treatment.
Michigan head coach Red Berenson said that Fox’s status with the Wolverine hockey team is unaffected, saying that the matter “has nothing to do with us — it’s a personal thing. … I’ve talked to his lawyer and they’re going to handle it.”
U-M’s Code of Student Conduct does not govern behavior outside of university property or events, unless it occurs within the city of Ann Arbor.
Fox’s attorney, David A. Binkley, asserted that his client had been struck first.
“He thought he was going to be attacked again,” Binkley said. “Chris Fox is not a criminal.”
Fox was released on $25,000 bond and a preliminary examination scheduled for Jan. 15, before Bloomfield Hills District Judge Edward Avadenka.