HASTING, Minn. (WCCO) — A St. Paul father has been sentenced to jail for choking his son’s youth hockey coach in December 2011.

On Tuesday, Thomas Tonda, 50, received a 180-day jail sentence with a stayed sentence of 21 months in the event that Tonda does not remain law abiding or violates his five-year probation period.

According to the criminal complaint, a fight broke out between three hockey players at a rink in Inver Grove Heights on Dec. 6. The team combines youth from both Inver Grove Heights and South St. Paul.

There, the son of Tonda was involved in the altercation, and swung his hockey stick and struck one of the other players.

The boy’s coach told him he couldn’t do that or he would potentially hurt his teammate. The coach told the kid to get back in line and continue drilling. The boy instead skated to the locker room, with his father in tow.

Tonda then came out and yelled at the coach and began choking him. The coach said he started blacking out from the assault.

When another coach pulled Tonda off the victim, he allegedly yelled “I’m gonna ******* kill you.”

Tonda has been charged with making terroristic threats and with fifth-degree assault. The former is a felony charge.

“Assaulting and threatening a youth athletics coach in this manner is extremely disturbing behavior,” said Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom. “We are pleased to have brought Thomas Tonda to justice for his criminal conduct.”

In addition to the jail sentence, Tonda must perform 350 hours of community work service and 50 days of sentence to service.


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