Roy's son pleads guilty

SAGUENAY, Quebec -- The son of NHL great Patrick Roy pleaded guilty to assault Wednesday for an on-ice beating that sparked a nationwide debate in Canada about violence in hockey.

In addition to the guilty plea, Jonathan Roy offered a $5,000 check to charity. A judge granted him absolute discharge, meaning the former goalie will have no criminal record. It also allows the budding singer to pursue a musical career in the United States.

Quebec court Judge Valmont Beaulieu handed down his sentence a few hours after the 20-year-old Roy caught people off-guard by pleading guilty as his two-day trial was set to begin.

Hall of Famer Patrick Roy was coaching behind the bench when his son, a goalie with the Quebec Remparts, skated across the rink during a junior game in March 2008 to pummel an opposing goalie.

That beating prompted numerous politicians to enter a debate over what could be done to curb violence in hockey. Even Prime Minister Stephen Harper waded in on the issue.

Roy had been trying to get the case tossed out but was rebuffed by a judge. Roy argued he was being prosecuted based on new provincial rules that weren't in place when the attack occurred.

Under rules introduced in July 2008, Quebec's Office of Public Prosecution toughened a 30-year-old regulation that made assault charges possible for a hockey player when the incident resulted in injury.

After entering the plea, a contrite-sounding Roy said he regretted his behavior.

"I assume total responsibility for what I did," Roy told the court. "I lacked an enormous amount of judgment and I regret it.

"What I did had nothing to do with hockey. I stepped over the line. When I see the video of the interview [after the game], I don't recognize myself. My parents have been deeply affected, especially my mother. I don't think she's recovered yet."

Roy's lawyer, Steve Magnan, said Roy was happy with the verdict.

"He's really happy," Magnan said to The Canadian Press outside the courtroom in Saguenay, about 250 kilometers north of Quebec City.

"He's moving on with a new career. He's now a singer," Magnan told The Canadian Press. "Because he will not have any criminal record, it will be possible for him to go to the United States and try to live his dream."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.