The University of Massachusetts Lowell has suspended men’s hockey coach Blaise MacDonald indefinitely.
Published reports said that MacDonald was arrested Friday night by Chelmsford, Mass., police on drunken driving charges and held until Saturday evening, when he was released on his own recognizance. He was arraigned Monday morning.
According to the Lowell Sun, MacDonald was found sleeping in the front seat of his SUV at 8:58 p.m. Friday and had a blood alcohol level of about three times the legal limit of .08 percent. Four beers and a 750 milliliter bottle of vodka were also found in the vehicle according to reports.
UMass Lowell spokesperson Patricia McCafferty said in a written statement announcing the suspension, “University policy requires that students and employees abide by all federal, state and local laws, including operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. Employees found to be in violation are subject to disciplinary action in accordance with applicable employment agreements.”
The statement continued, “The University has a profound responsibility to encourage lawful and healthy behavior among all members of the campus community. As role models, coaches must behave responsibly and set the appropriate example for our students.”
The arrest follows two weeks of good news for the RiverHawks; a lease agreement saving the program was reached with the city of Lowell to keep the team at Tsongas Arena and a sellout of 350 premium season tickets was another boost. The suspension coincided with the first day on the job for new UMass Lowell chancellor and former congressman Marty Meehan.
MacDonald came to UMass Lowell in 2001 after starting the hockey program at Niagara. He was an assistant coach at Boston University, Princeton and Dartmouth and was a member of RIT’s 1983 Division II and 1985 Division III national championship teams.