If a Hit is Bad, Shout it Out

I do not know Aaron Marvin. I can’t speak to his personality, nor to his intent when he takes the ice for St. Cloud State.

What I do know, however, is that he’s getting quite a reputation around the WCHA, and it’s not something to be proud of.

I heard one longtime WCHA observer use the term goon in reference to Marvin after last Saturday night’s game, in which the Huskies junior forward delivered an open-ice check to Wisconsin’s Blake Geoffrion that left the Badgers captain with a concussion. Geoffrion didn’t return to the game that night (he later informed everyone via Twitter that he was doing “just fine”), and the Wisconsin State Journal reports that the Badgers’ leading goalscorer won’t play this weekend at Michigan Tech.

On first glance, I didn’t see that Marvin’s shoulder went against Geoffrion’s head in the check, so I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. I’m guessing the on-ice officials were of the same viewpoint, even though their eyes were significantly closer to the play than mine, because no penalty was called.

St. Cloud State coach Bob Motzko said after the game that players on his bench told him it was a good hit, but even then, he was worried because of the crackdown on hits to the head.

If this was an isolated incident, I don’t think it would be as heated a topic this week. But Marvin is the same player who leveled North Dakota captain Chay Genoway on Nov. 13, drawing a one-game suspension from the WCHA.

As of nearly five days after the latest incident, there has been no public follow-up from the league, so many were left to believe no action is being taken. A WCHA official, however, said that the league’s supplemental discipline procedure was launched a day after the game, and the reason that no announcement has been made is that it must fully run its course before public comment is issued.

I’m a firm believer that if there is supplemental action taken in these cases, the league needs to scream it from the mountaintops. When Marvin was suspended in November, the league did not issue any news release or comment on why Marvin’s hit was being punished.

That may have been an oversight. Let’s hope it was. It may seem insignificant at times, but in the big picture, a league’s voice resonates.

Hits to the head are dirty and need to be eliminated from the game. Those who commit those infractions — and especially those who are repeat offenders — need to feel the consequences, both in missed game time and in the public shame that comes from being identified as such.

Genoway hasn’t played since the November game in which he was hit. Geoffrion will miss time when his team is playing for playoff positioning.

How many more good players does college hockey need to have sitting in the seats?