The London Free Press.
Sarnia Sting head coach Jacques Beaulieu is charged with two counts of assault in a weekend dust-up at a Strathroy-area home, The Free Press has learned.
And police are investigating his 20-year-old son Nathan Beaulieu — a top NHL prospect who’s joined the Montreal Canadiens’ looming playoff run — in the same incident just outside the hockey player’s hometown, Windsor lawyer Patrick Ducharme said Monday.
Ducharme said Jacques Beaulieu is charged with two counts of assault. The pair met but, citing a potential conflict, Ducharme would only represent the younger Beaulieu, a defenceman the Canadiens selected in the first round of the 2011 NHL draft.
Nathan Beaulieu had not been charged as of Monday night, Ducharme said.
Jacques Beaulieu — who on Monday was named a finalist for Ontario Hockey League coach of the year — declined comment.
His coaching career includes stints as Dale Hunter’s assistant with the London Knights and as head coach of the Quebec league’s Saint John Sea Dogs.
The charges relate to an incident that occurred Saturday night at a home on Saxton Rd. on the outskirts of Strathroy.
Asked specifically about the incident, Strathroy Caradoc police responded by saying they’re investigating “alleged assaults” against two men that occurred at a private residence outside of town Saturday.
Deputy police Chief Mark Campbell told The Free Press a 45-year-old Strathroy man and his 20-year-old son are being investigated by officers.
“This investigation has some newsworthy elements,” Campbell said Monday.
The incident, Campbell said, occurred at a party following a charity golf tournament in the area.
The investigation occurs just as the National Hockey League playoffs are set to start. The 20-year-old Beaulieu has recently been called up from the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs to the Canadiens, who begin their post-season Thursday against Ottawa.
A Canadiens spokesperson, contacted by The Free Press, said the young blue-liner is skating with other Bulldogs teammates in Montreal and team officials had spoken with him.
“At this point in time, there’s only so much we can say,” said Donald Beauchamp, the NHL club’s vice-president of communications.
“We’ve been made aware of the situation. This is a legal situation and for that reason we can’t comment any further.”
Hockey is no doubt a tight bond between the Beaulieus — Nathan having credited his father with teaching him much about the game.
“He’s a hockey man,” the son said after being drafted by Montreal in 2011. “He’s been in the game a long time. We talk about it and I’ve been able to learn from him, by listening and watching.”
Ducharme is no stranger to representing high-profile hockey players in court. The scrutiny, he agreed, makes the situation tough for a celebrity defendant’s whole family.
“It’s a very difficult matter for them,” said Ducharme.
By Jennifer O’Brien, Patrick Maloney