A 21-year-old Colorado Mesa University club hockey player, Nathaniel Jay Nieslanik, was arrested for two counts of second-degree assault early Sunday. The victim, another club hockey player, was taken to Saint Mary’s Hospital after obtaining serious injuries, including a broken jaw and nose.
CMU athletic leadership refused to provide information on the incident and asked The Criterion to end their inquiry.
“Please drop the story. Thank you,” Reese Kegans, manager of club sports, wrote in an email.
CMU Hockey Head Coach Timothy Winegard commented a little over an hour later in an email, saying “I will not speak to any media. Please disregard your story.”
It is unknown what the university response will be.
According to the official police report, the incident began late Saturday, when the victim and friends were sending Snapchats back and forth at an apartment on North 16th Street. The victim allegedly sent a message that read “#natesabitch,” to which Nieslanik took offense, the police report said. Nieslanik asked in the group chat where the victim was and another member of the group chat replied, giving Nieslanik the location.
Approximately five minutes later, Nieslanik allegedly showed up at the apartment and asked the victim’s friends where the victim was.
“When he was told [the victim] was in the bathroom, he went to the bathroom to confront [the vicitim] and then started punching him without provocation,” the report said.
According to the report, the victim was knocked into the bathtub with the first punch and Nieslanik allegedly stood over the victim and punched him in the head and face repeatedly until he was pulled off by others in the apartment.
Colorado Peace Officer Vaughn Soderquist of the Grand Junction Police Department contacted the victim over the phone after the incident. The victim revealed his location to Soderquist and told him that he had sustained a broken jaw and nose.
Soderquist obtained a Physicians Report of Serious Bodily Injury from Dr. Fowler of Saint Mary’s Hospital’s emergency room.
“Officer Soderquist contacted Nieslanik via phone to get his side of the [story],” the police report said.
Nieslanik replied that he didn’t want to talk to officers without consulting a lawyer, according to the report. He told officers that there was more to the story than what they’d heard so far, but claimed to have talked to his parents, who advised him to contact an attorney before proceeding to talk to police. Nieslanik behaved politely toward Soderquist while in contact with him.
Based on the evidence provided, Soderquist expressed the belief that there is probable cause that “Nathaniel J Nieslanik (03/30/1996) committed Second Degree Assault when he punched [the vicitm] causing Serious Bodily Injury.”
Nieslanik, who is also on the club rodeo team, was arrested and taken into custody at the Mesa County Jail.