Trial set for hockey player accused of Lewis Ice Arena assault
The Aspen Times
The first jury trial in Aspen Municipal Court since last January is scheduled to be held Feb. 25.
Christopher C. Hau, 31, of Fort Collins, was arrested by Aspen police Oct. 4 after allegedly taking a fight during a hockey game at the Aspen Recreation Center too far. He has been charged with assault and battery, a misdemeanor.
A real estate broker, Hau is being represented by Aspen attorney Jeff Wertz.
A report by Aspen policeman Rick Magnuson lists several witnesses who describe Hau as being the aggressor during the altercation, which occurred during the High Mountain Hockey Tournament, which involved adult amateur teams. Hau plays for DAS Hockey, a team based in Fort Collins and affiliated with Das Auto Salvage. During the game at the center’s Lewis Ice Arena, he got into it with an opponent from the Yodeling Pickles, a Denver-area team.
The alleged victim was treated at Aspen Valley Hospital for a concussion and other injuries. The alleged victim’s brother, also a Pickles player, told Magnuson that Hau headbutted the victim while they both were wearing helmets. Referees ejected Hau from the game, the victim’s brother said.
Hau began to skate away, but then quickly turned around and attacked the Pickles player, the report said.
The alleged victim’s brother told Magnuson that Hau grabbed the Pickles’ player’s facemask and “violently ripped (his) helmet off his head,” the report said.
Hau then dropped his gloves and proceeded to punch the player in the face, Magnuson wrote. The victim did not throw a single punch, his brother told police.
After multiple punches to the face, the victim “fell to his hands and knees” and Hau jumped on his back, the brother said. Hau used his hands to slam the victim’s face into the ice and continued to punch him in the back of the head.
The brother told Magnuson that typical hockey etiquette requires that “all fighting stops once either player falls to the ice.” He also said he had never seen “an assault of this magnitude occur during a hockey fight.”
One referee told police he had officiated thousands of games and had never before reported an on-ice incident. The referee also said that Hau “grabbed (the victim’s) facemask, twisted it off, got him to the ground, continued throwing punches, never stopping.”
The victim “turtled,” putting his hands over his head and attempting to lower his head so that he couldn’t be hit, the referee said. Hau was “absolutely” the aggressor, the referee told Magnuson.
“In my opinion, most hockey fights end when somebody gives up, and this didn’t end when he gave up,” the referee said.
Hau told police he was defending himself against the Pickles player and was not the aggressor, according to the police report.
“He added that the incident was a normal part of a hockey game, adding that he was injured in the fight and did not start it,” Magnuson wrote.
Wertz declined comment, except to say that the version of events as told by the alleged victim’s brother and other witnesses mentioned in the police report differs significantly from that of Hau and the DAS Hockey teammates.
The last jury trial in Aspen Municipal Court was held in January when the city attempted to prosecute Aspen Brewing Co. for noise violations stemming from complaints by a resident of a neighboring penthouse on East Hopkins Avenue. Aspen Brewing prevailed.
Nearly three years after Aspen City Council cleared the founder of Jazz Aspen Snowmass to launch a jazz performance and education center downtown, Jim Horowitz said he expects the project will get rolling before the year is over.
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