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NY Islanders’ Prospect Casey Cizikas Sentenced After Fatal Rugby Incident
Total Pro Sports – Some say it was part of the game, or just another rugby tackle. Others look at it as a rough act that should not have occurred and must not be tolerated. In the end, Casey Cizikas, an 18-year-old fourth-round pick of the New York Islanders who currently plays for the St. Michael’s Majors of the OHL, was charged with manslaughter for the death of 15-year old Manny Castillo, and sentenced to one year probation and 100 hours of community service yesterday morning in a Brampton court room (a city just outside Toronto).
The game took place in Mississauga in 2007. As previously stated, many continue to dispute whether the tackle was part of the game or not, but Cizikas described it as self defense as he believes he was in a headlock. Others saw Castillo get pile-driven into the ground, leading to his death two days later. Several mistaken reports stated that the cause was spinal cord related, but doctors claim that it was the result of a head injury. Of note is the fact that physicians had diagnosed Castillo with a major concussion just two weeks earlier which should have kept him off the field for at least one year.
No matter which way you shape it, it is a sad story that has finally seemed to reach its end. Throughout it all, Castillo’s parents reaffirmed their belief that it was all part of the game and any charges should be dropped. Unfortunately, after their son passed away, such a request could no longer be accommodated according to the law. Judge Bruce Duncan found that Cizikas had used “unnecessary force” and was therefore charged with manslaughter.
Following the hearing, Castillo’s father gave a statement that called for an end to fighting in hockey, but remained true to his belief that his son’s death was not the fault of Cizikas. With the sentencing complete and having worked out as it did, Casey Cizikas will now be free to continue his pursuit of an NHL career, which will begin later this week at the Islanders prospect camp. How this event will impact his future remains to be seen.