Atlantic Hockey on Wednesday assessed additional penalties and suspensions to four players from each team after a brawl between Canisius and RIT on Saturday, February 9. The penalties include regular-season suspensions for RIT’s Ricky Walton and Canisius’ Carl Hudson.
Atlantic Hockey commissioner Bob DeGregorio and Gene Binda, supervisor of officials, have reviewed the tapes from the game, according to the league. DeGregorio assessed the additional penalties under the league’s policy on Supplemental Discipline.
The two teams combined for a total of 251 minutes in penalties, which included misconduct penalties, fighting majors and disqualifications. Amateur video and photographs and an edited Canisius team video circulated widely on the internet in the aftermath of the event.
“Atlantic Hockey, the NCAA and the culture of collegiate hockey will not allow or condone fighting,” said DeGregorio. “This was not representative of the student-athlete experience that Atlantic Hockey and its members are striving to achieve.”
Additional games have been issued to Phil Rauch, Taylor Anderson, Jason Weeks and Hudson of Canisius and Tyler Mazzei, Louis Menard, Stephen Burns and Walton of RIT. Although the league declined to state the amount of games Hudson and Walton were suspended in its press release, USCHO learned on Thursday that Hudson and Walton will be suspended for the remainder of the regular season.
Canisius supports the decision by the league, while RIT is appealing the ruling.
Canisius athletic director Bill Maher issued a statement on the announcement on Thursday.
“We fully support the decisions made by the commissioner and his staff,” Maher said. “These suspensions are both substantial and appropriate under the circumstances. We have high expectations and standards for our student-athletes and in this case we failed to meet those standards. We regret that this incident occurred, however, now that the suspensions have been finalized, we intend to use this experience as a teaching opportunity and to reinforce Canisius Collegeâ€™s commitment to the highest levels of sportsmanship.”
Unlike Canisius, RIT has yet to release any statement on the sanctions except for comments by its athletic director, Lou Spiotti, in the league’s official press release on Wednesday. However, USCHO has learned that the school has submitted an appeal to Atlantic Hockey which will be heard by the league on Friday.
Hudson received two game disqualfications in the contest while Anderson, Menard and Walton all received single game disqualifications. Canisius’ Josh Heidinger also received a game disqualification, but did not receive additional discipline.
No suspensions or disciplinary actions toward the officiating crew were announced by Atlantic Hockey. In a press release last Saturday, Canisius described the officials as having “lost control of the contest” as did broadcast and print media accounts of the 4-1 RIT win.
The supplemental discipline penalties will be served beginning with the next scheduled contest. Canisius hosts Holy Cross in two league contests this weekend, while RIT is in non-conference play hosting Niagara in a single Saturday tilt.
“We fully support the decisions made by the commissioner and his staff,” said Maher in the league’s announcement on Wednesday. “We have high expectations and standards for our student-athletes and in this case we failed to meet those standards. We regret that this incident occurred, however, now that the punishments have been distributed, we are ready to move forward with the remainder of our season.”
“It is with great regret that RIT and our proud hockey program played a role in this incident,” said Spiotti. “It does not reflect well upon our student-athletes and staff, the Atlantic Hockey Association, and the game of college ice hockey. We are in support of the measures taken by the league office and will do everything in our power to prevent this from ever happening again. It is our intent to use this as a learning experience and move on with the remainder of the season as a strong partner in Atlantic Hockey.”