Vermont co-captains Brendan Bradley and Mario Puskarich, as well as assistant captains Chris Muscoby and Anthony Petruzzelli, have been suspended for the first five games of the season after an off-campus hazing incident, The Hockey News reported Friday.
The entire team will also be placed on probation for a full year “with the understanding that any further team misconduct will result in additional discipline up to and including game cancellations,” a school-issued statement read.
“This is something that I take very seriously,” Vermont director of athletics Jeff Schulman said in the statement. “Hazing is dangerous, it’s against university policy and it won’t be tolerated in this athletic department. We’re fortunate that this incident did not result in any injuries, but these activities always have the potential to endanger the safety and well-being of our students.”
According to a release from the school, first-year players were asked to turn over their cell phones on the morning of Sept. 24, and later taken to a house off-campus where “the initiation activity consisted of first-year team members drinking beer and liquor, and they were expected to be dressed in their boxer shorts while they consumed the alcoholic beverages.”
No other details were released by the university.
The sanctions against the Catamounts require the team go through education about hazing, a “restorative justice session,” and 15 hours of added community service.
“As disappointing as this situation is, I want this to be a valuable learning experience for this team,” said Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon in the statement. “I fully support the sanctions and the university’s response and I also support the players on the men’s hockey team. Our program has a strong educational component. I will help our players learn from their mistakes and move forward.”
The four suspended players will not be eligible to return until the Oct. 30 game against Northeastern.