- Written by Administrator
- Published: 02 May 2012
(Tucker Hannon, flanked by his mother Sheila, father Tom and attorney Jay Mullen, is swarmed by media following the hearing in Plymouth District Court.)
Plymouth District Court acting-Court Magistrate Philip McCue ruled last Friday that a crime did not take place when Duxbury High School junior Tucker Hannon was cross checked in a January hockey game against Scituate and suf-fered a concussion.
“There does not exist probable cause that a crime took place,” said McCue. “I deny the hearing.”After passing a gauntlet of television cameras and court gawkers whispering openly about the case, Hannon, escorted by his parents Sheila and Tom, and Boston attorney Jay Allen, made his way to hearing room 2B where McCue denied the motion against Scituate Sailors hockey player Alex Way, 18. After his decision, McCue asked the media to leave the hearing room and invited Way to apologize to Hannon for a hit that occurred after play was complete, a hit that left Hannon with a concussion.
His father Tom Hannon testified during the hearing that his son had to recover in their dark basement for two weeks without any sort of mental stimulation, even light, and was out of school for six weeks. His father compared his head injury and the recovery to shaking a snow globe and waiting for everything to settle again. Hannon said he was satisfied with the outcome of the hearing.
“Yes, it’s very settled,” said Tucker Hannon, 18. “The apology is accepted.”
Sheila Hannon said her family went to court as a last resort after the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA), Scituate school officials and May’s family failed to address the check that knocked Hannon off of his feet. According to Sheila, all her family ever wanted was accountability from the adults for a bad hit in a high school hockey game.
“If (the criminal charges) went forward, I think I would have had heart failure,” said Sheila Hannon. “Our intent was to get an apology.”
Arguing on behalf of the Hannons, Mullen said the hit was over and above what’s normally found in hockey. He said if it had happened off the ice and on the street, criminal charges would have ensued.
“This was a vicious attack on an unbeknownst player,” said Allen. “The play was over.”
Way’s attorney, Robert Harnais, argued successfully that when parents sign a release allowing their children to play a contact sport, they agree to that contact. He said that if the court decided to pursue criminal charges against his client, the repercussions would extend far beyond this one case.
“What we’re doing here is breaking that barrier in high school sports,” said Harnais. “Make sure you buy the
equipment, make sure you pay those athletic fees and now make sure you have a lawyer. No. You don’t punish someone as a result of the action, you punish them for the action.”
Following the hearing, a visibly relieved Way spoke to the swarm of media. With his mother Jennifer standing behind him and mouthing the words as he spoke, Way, 18, said, “I apologized it got this far and that he got a concussion.”
Tucker’s father, Tom Hannon, testified at the hearing that he himself played and coaches hockey. In his testimony, he attempted to address the disparity between the National Hockey League, which he said reviews tapes for bad hits, to high school leagues which do not allow for MIAA officials to review tapes and issue penalties. The clerk requested that Hannon testify only to the case at hand.
“This whole thing has got to get the MIAA to have a review board,” said Tom Hannon following the hearing. “We feel strongly as a family that the MIAA have a review board.”
Sheila Hannon said she’s glad it’s over and satisfied her family handled the situation in a civil manner. In addition to garnering an apology, she said she felt it was important that all involved practice athletic etiquette.
“In my heart, we had good intentions,” said Sheila Hannon. “All we wanted was an apology.”
While the Hannons ultimately achieved their goal of receiving an apology from Way, it came at a high
price. Their case made national news and lit up talk radio, the blogosphere, and various social networking sites. Few of the comments were kind to the Hannons -- or to Duxbury. Sheila said she felt
badly about that.
“The support from the community has been wonderful,” said Sheila Hannon. “We want to apologize to the town for the media frenzy… We all pulled together as a community. I love this community.”