St. Paul man gets six months jail time for attacking son's hockey coach

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By Sarah Barchus

A St. Paul man was sentenced to six months in jail Tuesday for threatening and attacking his son's hockey coach last year in Inver Grove Heights, the Pioneer Press reported.

Thomas Tonda, 56, pleaded guilty in August to one count of felony terroristic threats, and a misdemeanor assault charge was dismissed, The Pioneer Press reported.

According to the charges, Tonda threatened the Inver Grove Heights-South St. Paul PeeWee hockey coach, Terry Johnson, and put him in a chokehold during a practice on Dec. 6, the Pioneer Press reported.

Johnson stopped Tonda's son from swinging his hockey stick like a baseball bat at his teammate and told him to get in line and do a drill. Instead, the boy went to the locker room and Tonda followed his son, the Pioneer Press reported.

Tonda returned to the rink and screamed at Johnson. When Johnson told him to go home, Tonda put him in a chokehold, which caused him to start to black out, Johnson told police. Another coach was able to free Johnson from Tonda who was yelling, "I'm going to kill you. I'm going to [expletive] choke you out," the Star Tribune reported.

Johnson wasn't hospitalized, but said he missed a month of work because of neck pain, the Star Tribune reported.

In addition to the jail sentence, Dakota County Judge Timothy McManus ordered Tonda to pay $3,693 in restitution, and do 350 hours of community service, the Star Tribune reported.

McManus will allow Tonda to attend his son's hockey games in the future, but Tonda must stay on the other side of the rink from Johnson, the Star Tribune reported.

Tonda was convicted in 2009 for first-degree cocaine possession and could face up to seven years in prison if he offends again, the Star Tribune reported.

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