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Junior Player Receives Two Year Sentence For Drunk Driving Death

Drinking and driving do not mix.  While the culture of junior hockey has in many circumstances condoned players consuming alcohol as a matter of tradition.  Former Calgary Canucks Junior B Chistopher Fitzsimmons will be the first to tell you that the “boys will be boys” tradition no longer has room to exist in junior hockey.

Fitzsimmons received two years in jail for impaired driving causing death. Friend and teammate Travis Meissinger was killed when the car Fitzsimmons was driving smashed into a parked vehicle in January 2011.

Fitzsimons was in tears as he read a prepared statement to the Court and Meissinger family before being sentenced.

“It was a bad decision I made and one I truly regret and for which I am so remorseful. It’s been mentally scarring and sadness will haunt me the rest of my life. I know it pales in comparison to what you feel . . . I can’t imagine the pain I have caused. I’m terribly sorry for what happened and I sincerely hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me some day.”

According to an agreed statement of facts, Fitzsimons was drunk and speeding when he lost control on a curve and crashed, killing his friend and teammate.

Fitzsimons was driving from a friend’s house to his home to get something before meeting three other friends at a bar.  On the way home he lost control of the vehicle as he entered a curved section of the road at double the posted speed limit and slammed into a parked truck.   The two vehicles then plowed into another parked truck.

Travis Meissinger sustained massive injuries, internal and external which caused him to pass away on the scene. 

The conversation on under age and legal drinking practices of junior hockey players is one that has become a hot button topic for many involved in the sport.  Many are suggesting a zero tolerance policy for those who can consume alcohol legally as well as those who can not.  Fitness professionals have been telling players for years that alcohol, other drug and tobacco use will only stunt their ability to grow and mature as athletes.

Owners, Coaches and Management of teams and many at the league administration levels are now openly talking about the desire for governing bodies to implement policy that regulates these activities and institutes a penalty structure for violation of these rules.

The time has come for all of us to begin caring about the person as much as we care about the athlete.  To do so will ultimately end in fewer of these tragedies taking place.

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