Hazing. There is no room for it in hockey or any other sport for that matter. There is a difference between hazing and just having fun with a rookie or new team mate.
Is making someone stand up in a cafeteria and sign a song hazing? I don’t think so. Is having someone do something, or ingest something potentially harmful to themselves hazing? Definitely.
Vermont is no stranger to hazing or the very serious ramifications that come with it. This hazing incident comes 17 years after a similar scandal rocked the men’s hockey program and prompted the school to cancel the final 15 games of the 1999-2000 season.
University of Vermont Public Safety received information of possible violations at a “Rookie Party” on Sept. 24 and conducted a week-long investigation into the incident, according to the Public Safety department.
University of Vermont Athletic Director Jeff Schulman, in his first year as Athletic Director, announced Thursday afternoon the suspension of four men’s hockey players due to the off-campus incident.
Captains Brendan Bradley and Mario Puskarich, along with assistant captains Chris Muscoby and Anthony Petruzzelli have been suspended for five games. The suspensions begin with Friday’s season-opening game at Clarkson. The players can practice with the team but not play or travel to games.
The team must participate in “additional educational programming on hazing to further reinforce the department and university policies and values” and participate in a restorative justice session “to better understand the impact that their behavior has on others,” according to a news release.
The team must complete 15 hours of community service beyond what it is already performing.
The men’s hockey team is on probation for one year. “Any further team misconduct will result in additional discipline up to and including game cancellations,” according to a news release.
“What this highlights is that there remains a gap between how our student athletes view this issue, how we view it and how our policies are written,” Schulman said. “It’s a tough issue, you know, these young men come from junior hockey backgrounds where, unfortunately, this type of conduct is often very prevalent.”
TJHN will follow up on this story next week.