During high school hockey brawl trial, defense argues fighting is part of the game

Jim Melwert
November 13, 2018 - 6:13 pm
From left: Ryan Gricco, Jake Cross and Brock Anderson

Montgomery County District Attorney's Office

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — Prosecutors call it a pre-planned, orchestrated attack during a high school hockey tournament. 

But defense attorneys say it’s a just game that got out of hand. 

Jake Cross, Ryan Gricco and Brock Anderson have been charged with simple assault and conspiracy for the on-ice brawl in a quarterfinal game of the Flyers Cup in Hatfield in March 2017. They were high school seniors, playing for the Ridley Raiders, but were losing 7-1 to Central Bucks West, with seven minutes to go in an elimination game. 

Prosecutor John Gradel said they knew they couldn’t be punished since their high school careers were about to come to an end. Pounding his fist into his palm, Gradel told the jury how as soon as the puck was dropped, Ridley players went after CB West, hitting them repeatedly.

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Jurors were shown videos of the fights, as two CB West players explained what was going on. 

During the first day of the trial Tuesday, CB West defenseman Brandon Savona testified that he didn’t fight back as he was repeatedly hit in the head, even after he fell to the ice, because he was worried about getting suspended. But Savona said he missed the next game because of a concussion.

Defense attorneys for the three accused argue CB West players weren’t innocent, adding it was a chippy, physical game, and hockey is an emotional game and fighting is just part of it.