Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon has voluntarily suspended himself from coaching in tonight’s game against St. Lawrence because of comments he made after Friday’s night about referee John Murphy.
Murphy disallowed a Vermont goal with 14 seconds remaining in regulation that would have tied the game against Clarkson, ruling that a Vermont player was in the crease when the puck went in the net.
“I’m sick to my stomach right now for our kids because they battle hard,” he said.
“It’s inexcusable. He’s been awful all year and he continues to be awful. That’s why he won’t be reffing in the future, but you know what? He shouldn’t be reffing this weekend, either.
“It’s inexcusable in my book that he’s in our building.”
According to a report in the Burlington Free Press, credited to the UVM department of athletic communications, Tim Kotyra, who officiated in last year’s Frozen Four, was originally scheduled to be the referee in Burlington. Kotyra was switched, however, late to officiate the game at Dartmouth, while Murphy was flown in Burlington. The flight was delayed, and assistant referee Mike Baker handled referee duties for the first 38 minutes, 12 seconds of the game.
Murphy then raised Sneddon’s ire by calling three straight penalties on the Catamounts.
“You know how I feel. I’ve already gone where I normally don’t go but it’s just inexcusable in my book,” Sneddon said.
In a statement Saturday morning, Sneddon apologized for his verbal barrage.
“My comments showed a lack of respect for John Murphy, the ECACHL, and college hockey in general,” Sneddon said. “I need to lead by example, and making public comments about officiating does not set a positive example for our student-athletes. I regret that my passion and competitiveness got the better of me during an emotional time. As someone who strongly believes in responsibility and accountability, I feel it is important to institute a self-imposed one-game suspension for my actions last night.
“Once again, I apologize to John Murphy, the ECACHL, and to our great fans. I look forward to moving on from this as we enjoy a great stretch run of ECACHL play.”
Vermont athletic director Bob Corran supported Sneddon and his decision.
“I fully support Kevin¹s choice to remove himself from tonight’s game against St. Lawrence,” Corran said. “This decision is consistent with his personal values, our departmental values, and we continue to be proud to have such an outstanding coach and educator leading our men¹s hockey program.”
The ECACHL also supported Sneddon’s decision.
“Early Saturday morning, I was apprised of public comments attributed to coach Sneddon after last night’s game,” said Commissioner Steve Hagwell. “After reviewing the comments and having numerous discussions with League representatives and a senior member of the Vermont athletics administration, it was decided that coach Sneddon would issue a public apology and serve a self imposed one-game suspension. The League considers the issue closed.”