St. Paul man sentenced to six months in jail for attacking youth hockey coach

by Ashley Goetz

A St. Paul man was sentenced to six months in jail Tuesday for attacking the coach of his son's youth hockey team in Inver Grove Heights last December, the St. Paul Pioneer Press said

Thomas Tonda, 50, pleaded guilty in August to one count of making felony terroristic threats, the Pioneer Press said. A misdemeanor fifth-degree assault charge was dismissed. 

Tonda attacked the coach on Dec. 6, during one of his son's youth hockey practices, the Pioneer Press said. Tonda allegedly confronted the coach after his son was disciplined for swinging his hockey stick at another player during a fight. 

The coach told the boy his behavior was unnacceptable and instructed him to return to practice, the Minneapolis Star Tribune said. Instead, the boy skated off the ice and and went into the locker room, where Tonda followed him. 

Tonda returned shortly afterward and began screaming at the coach, according to the Star Tribune. After the coach told him to go home, Tonda began to strangle him until he almost lost conciousness, and he threatened to kill him multiple times until another man pulled Tonda away. 

The coach did not need to be hospitalized, but he missed work for a month due to neck pain, the Star Tribune said. 

The plea agreement said Tonda would not serve any more than 365 days in jail, but he could have served a seven-year sentence becasue he violated the terms of a previous felony drug conviction, the Star Tribune said. 

Tonda's and the coach's sons could play on the same hockey team again this year, but Dakota County Judge Timothy McManus said Tonda cannot have any contact with the coach or his family, the Star Tribune said. Tonda will be allowed to attend games, but he has to sit on the other end of the rink as the coach.