Here’s more on the Aaron Marvin suspension from St. Cloud State beat writer Kevin Allenspach of the St. Cloud Times, and further down, information on a reprimand to Alaska Anchorage coach Dave Shyiak for a watter bottle-throwing incident Saturday at Alaska-Fairbanks, provided by Doyle Woody of the Anchorage Daily News:
Kevin Allenspach, St. Cloud Times
The other skate finally dropped on St. Cloud State forward Aaron Marvin on Monday, more than a week after he injured Wisconsin captain Blake Geoffrion with a hit to the head in a Feb. 20 game at Madison, Wis. The WCHA announced it was suspending Marvin for three games — this weekend’s home-and-home series against Minnesota State-Mankato and the first-round playoff opener March 12 — as supplementary discipline for shoulder-to-face contact in the neutral zone that left Geoffrion with concussion symptoms. No initial penalty was called on the play by the referees on the ice.
"I don’t think there’s any argument from anyone that it wasn’t an illegal hit," WCHA commissioner Bruce McLeod said. "There was contact from the shoulder to the head. If you go back, on Nov. 16 there was a clarification memo sent out by the NCAA that said ‘any contact to the head or neck area,’ so that even broadens it a bit. The only question we had was what we were going to do about it."
The league announced the suspension after discussions with St. Cloud State officials and the WCHA Executive Committee. McLeod said last week that SCSU had been notified of the league’s intention on Feb. 21 but was appealing the decision. That appeal was denied.
In 16 seasons as WCHA commissioner, McLeod said this is the first occasion he’s had to suspend a player for more than one game. There have been other players previously suspended multiple games, McLeod said, but they were according to penalties mandated in the NCAA rule book or through supplementary discipline administered by a school and not the league.
Marvin’s suspension might not have been as severe if not for a previous suspension he received Nov. 13 for a hit from behind on North Dakota captain Chay Genoway on Nov. 12. Genoway has yet to return from a concussion stemming from that hit. Geoffrion missed the Badgers’ series last weekend at Michigan Tech.
"Going back to the North Dakota incident, that was a factor," McLeod said. "But there were a lot of things involved."
The hit on Genoway precipitated an attempted fight between Marvin and North Dakota’s Mario Lamoureux on Feb. 13 at the National Hockey Center. Lamoureux received a one-game supplementary suspension for instigating the incident. Late in that same game, SCSU defenseman Chris Hepp jumped over the boards to defend his teammates during a melee. Hepp also received a one-game ban for violating an NCAA rule prohibiting players from leaving the bench during such a stoppage. And, a week prior to that, SCSU coach Bob Motzko was given a public reprimand for a confrontation with an official after a 6-4 loss on Jan. 30 at Colorado College — when a late goal by Marvin was waived off.
All major penalties are reviewed automatically by WCHA Supervisor of Officials Greg Shepherd. Other plays subject to supplementary discipline have to be brought to the league’s attention by a member school. Wisconsin coach Mike Eaves said immediately after the game he was going to file a protest.
"There was no call (on the ice), and wrongly so — much to my chagrin," McLeod said of a lapse by referees Brad Shepherd (Greg Shepherd’s son) and Todd Anderson. "It’s a slippery slope to be looking at penalties after the fact, but we’ve had instances where we’ve had to do this before. Last year, we had a few knee-to-knee hits."
MSU-Mankato forward Trevor Bruess ultimately received two separate WCHA suspensions last season as a result of such plays.
"I’m very, very concerned about refereeing after the fact by video, and this is something I struggled with," McLeod said. "I don’t think it should be on Aaron to carry the message to everyone that we’re serious about hits to the head. You hope people will realize it, though … that’s why this reached (a three-game) threshold. It’s something concerning. Player protection and safety is a huge priority, as is balancing it with the fact that hockey is a physical game played within the rules. Ultimately, safety is paramount."
The league made that clear in the statement it issued.
"Player safety is of paramount concern to all of us in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association and players are responsible for conducting themselves in a proper manner," Nancy Sampson, Faculty Representative from the University of Denver and Chair of the Association said in a statement announcing the suspension. "Our student-athletes need to make every possible effort to play within the spirit of the rules and know that they will be held accountable for their actions. The Association, through its administrators and officials and member team administrators, coaches and student-athletes, will continue to work together to address concerns in a responsible and constructive way."
Doyle Woody, Anchorage Daily News
Alaska Anchorage has reprimanded coach Dave Shyiak for his actions Saturday night in a nonconference loss at Alaska Fairbanks. Shyiak threw a water bottle on to the ice to argue a call that wasn’t made by the game referees, and then stepped on the ice to further argue. He was then ejected from the game.
Anchorage athletic director Steve Cobb released a statement Sunday:
“On behalf of the University of Alaska Anchorage athletic department, I sincerely apologize to the University of Alaska Fairbanks, game officials and to UAA supporters for Coach Dave Shyiak’s behavior on Saturday night that resulted in a two-minute unsportsmanlike conduct and 10-minute game misconduct penalty.
“Coach Shyiak’s actions were out of character and regrettable. At UAA we have high behavioral standards, not just for student-athletes, but for all department employees. He has received a formal reprimand for his actions and understands that his behavior was unacceptable.”