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Former NHLer Matthew Barnaby ordered to perform 500 hours community service

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Former NHL forward and ESPN analyst Matthew Barnaby was ordered Wednesday to complete 500 hours of community service to have charges dropped stemming from an argument he had with his estranged wife in May.

Barnaby, 38, was accused of causing an estimated US$300 in damage by kicking the garage door May 13 in an attempt to enter the suburban Buffalo home where his wife and two children live, Erie County district attorney Frank Sedita's office said. He had pleaded not guilty to five charges.

As part of her ruling, Buffalo State Supreme Court Justice Deborah Haendiges also issued a one-year order of protection against Barnaby. He is barred from taking what was described as any "offensive" action against his wife, and was also ordered to avoid contact with his wife's boyfriend, the DA's office said.

Barnaby was also ordered to continue attending anger management counselling.

As part of the plea agreement, the misdemeanour charges of criminal mischief and aggravated harassment will be dropped if he fulfills the judge's order within a year.

Barnaby, who's from Ottawa, would have faced potential deportation had he been convicted.

"We're very happy with that result," Barnaby's lawyer, Frank LoTempio, told The Associated Press by phone. "We feel it's very fair and warranted."

LoTempio added that his client will return to court on Aug. 8 for a compliance hearing.

Barnaby broke into the NHL with the Buffalo Sabres during the 1992-93 season. He played for seven teams over 13-plus NHL seasons, earning a reputation as a pesky agitator during a career in which he finished with 113 goals and 187 assists for 300 points and 2,562 penalty minutes in 834 games.

He retired in 2007 because of a concussion sustained during a fight and joined ESPN as a studio analyst in 2008.

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