Former pro hockey player puts Penticton criminal matters on ice

A former professional hockey player who hit rock bottom in Penticton should skate away from jail early in the new year.

A former professional hockey player who hit rock bottom in Penticton should skate away from jail early in the new year after settling a handful of court matters.

Quinten Levi Van Horlick, 39, pleaded guilty to five counts of theft under $5,000 and a single count of breach of a court order and was sentenced Tuesday to 120 days in jail. The new time will run concurrent with a 147-day sentence he received in September for similar offences related to shoplifting at local stores last summer and fall.

“I went through a bad spell there. Not proud of myself,” Van Horlick told a provincial court judge in Penticton via video conference from the Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre.

Van Horlick admitted to stealing booze from the Government Street and Westminster liquor stores in August, and shoplifting at Whole Foods Market and The Bay in September, when he was also caught in the Real Canadian Superstore, contrary to a previous court order.

Court heard Van Horlick’s criminal record prior to Tuesday contained 18 convictions for theft and 10 for breaches, all of which he accumulated after 2010.

“Here’s a guy that’s clean until he’s 35, and now he’s 39. What the heck?” asked Judge Gale Sinclair.

Defence counsel James Pennington said his client is addicted to alcohol and cocaine, plus served as an minor-pro hockey enforcer and likely suffered long-term damage as a result.

“He’s a good guy, but he’s punch drunk,” said Pennington, recalling what Van Horlick’s father told the lawyer about his son.

An online hockey statistics database shows Van Horlick, who was born in Kamloops, suited up for 12 minor-league teams over 10 seasons, before his career ended in 2004-05 with St. Georges CRS Express of the Quebec-based Ligue Nord-Americaine de Hockey.

His best campaign was 2004-05, when he collected five points and 232 penalty minutes in 59 games with the Missouri River Otters of the United Hockey League.

“I didn’t play in the NHL, but I got as close as you can get. I used to be proud of myself,” Van Horlick said, adding he hopes to work on his family’s Penticton-area farm and find a way back into hockey when he’s released from jail.