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Published March 22 2012

Iowa police charge two Des Moines players in connection with alleged assault on Force's Goff

MINNEAPOLIS – Police in Urbandale, Iowa, are charging two Des Moines Buccaneers players in connection with an alleged assault on a Fargo Force player and his 79-year-old grandfather.

Arrest warrants have been issued for Buccaneers players Kevin Irwin, 18, and Tanner Karty, 17, two weeks after the Force’s Neal Goff and his grandfather, Gerald Pipes, were assaulted following a game on March 11.

Irwin is charged with two counts of assault causing injury. Karty is also being charged with two counts of assault with intent.

Goff, 18, was in the stands at Buccaneer Arena when he was allegedly assaulted by what police initially said were three Buccaneers players. The assault stemmed from a March 10 game where Goff admitted to authorities he called Des Moines’ Trent Thomas-Samuels a racial epithet. Thomas-Samuels, who is black, was called “a monkey” by Goff.

Buccaneer Arena is in Urbandale, a Des Moines suburb.

“The detective was very diligent and she put a lot of hours in and put in overtime to get this taken care of,” said Jeff Casey, the Urbandale police’s public information officer. “She worked hard with the Polk County (Iowa) Attorney’s Office to figure out what needed to be done.”

Irwin and Karty will be arrested upon their return to Des Moines with the team in Fargo this weekend to play the Force for a two-game series that starts at 7:35 p.m. today.

The team left for Fargo on Thursday, stopping in St. Paul to watch the Calgary Flames play the Minnesota Wild.

Goff, Irwin and Karty are not expected to play after the United States Hockey League indefinitely suspended all three players last week for being involved in a criminal investigation.

Casey said the department expects Irwin and Karty to turn themselves in once they arrive back in town.

“There’s no set hours in terms of when they have to turn themselves in,” Casey said. “Ultimately, everyone wants to get this taken care of.”

The news release issued by the Urbandale Police Department states, “An arrest without disposition is not an indication of guilt.”

If Irwin is convicted, he could face up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1,500. Casey said because Karty is a minor, it will be up to the county’s juvenile courts to determine the following course of action.

Irwin, who is from a Cleveland-area suburb, is set to play hockey next season at Ohio State while Karty is from Oklahoma City.

Irwin and Karty, along with Goff, are supposed to have a meeting today with league officials – including commissioner Skip Prince – to discuss what happened.

Goff, who is from Stillwater, Minn., is in his first season with the Force, having scored four points in 28 games.

Goff, who is enrolled as a senior at Fargo South, was starting to develop a role with the Force, having played in 13 of 16 games since Jan. 21.

Force spokeswoman Whitney Baumgartner deferred all comments to the league office in Chicago.

USHL spokesman Brian Werger was not immediately available when called by The Forum seeking comment.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548.

Clark’s Force blog can be found at slightlychilled.areavoices.com