Canisius officials have lifted the suspension of coach Brian Cavanaugh, and he has returned to the team following a five-day absence.
Cavanaugh was put on indefinite suspension last week, pending an investigation, after allegedly hitting freshman defenseman Matt Coulter on the head with a hockey stick during practice last Wednesday. Cavanaugh said that he only tapped Coulter with a stick to get him to pay attention.
“Coach Cavanaugh has apologized to the student, as well as to the team, and I believe that he understands that he has made a mistake,” said school athletic director Timothy Dillon. “However, from the college’s standpoint, an action such as this is unacceptable. In addition to the five-day suspension, he has received a severe reprimand and a warning that any further actions of this type will subject him to immediate dismissal.”
Following the Wednesday incident, Coulter proceeded to finish that day’s practice with the team. But he did not practice with the team on Thursday or Friday, and did not play in either of Canisius’ games this past weekend.
Whether he was injured, advised not to play, or just scratched, remains unclear. Dillon was asked after Saturday’s game why Coulter was sitting.
“Medical records are between the student-athlete, myself, the coach and the trainer,” said Dillon to the Buffalo News. “Medically, I can’t talk about it because there’s a federal law that keeps that confidential.”
Assistant coach Troy MacCormick had been the acting head coach in Cavanaugh’s absence.
Cavanaugh is in his 20th season as head coach of the Ice Griffs. He has a 283-238-38 career record, all at Canisius, including 3-5-2 this year (2-4-2 MAAC).