According to a report in the Anchorage Daily News, former Alaska-Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak struck one of his own players with his stick during a 2011 practice in 2011 and then told his players to keep quiet about the incident.
Former Seawolves’ forward Mickey Spencer mentioned the incident in a letter to University of Alaska president Patrick Gamble in which he says Shyiak “tomahawked, lumber-jacked — whatever you want to call it” UAA forward Nick Haddad, then a senior, after Haddad botched a drill and kicked him off the ice.
Shyiak, fired by UAA on March 29, reportedly told the team the next day he apologized to Haddad.
“We knew this wasn’t a small deal, it’s kind of a big deal,” Spencer told the paper. “I’ve seen a coach break a stick over a goal post or the glass because he’s pissed about something, but I’ve never seen one take out his anger on a player.”
Two other former team members told the Daily News they also witnessed the incident and would speak only on the condition of anonymity.
Asked in 2011 by a Daily News reporter about the incident, Haddad denied it. On Monday, in response to a text message from the Daily News, Haddad texted back, “No comment.”
Shyiak’s attorney, Kevin Fitgerald, said Shyiak admitted the incident happened, but not in the violent detail the players allege.
“He confirms he did strike Nick’s knee pads with his stick,” Fitzgerald said to the News. “It wasn’t an assault. It was, in essence, an attempt to get Nick’s attention. It wasn’t designed to injure Nick. It didn’t cause any injury. Nick didn’t report to the trainer, didn’t suffer an injury, didn’t go to the hospital.”
Haddad played in a two-game series three days after the supposed incident.