WASHINGTON - APRIL 11: Head coach Jack Parker of the Boston Terriers has his head rubbed after his players dumped water over him after they defeated the Miami Red Hawks during the NCAA Men's Frozen Four Championship game on April 11, 2009 at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC. Boston defeated Miami 4-3 in overtime to win the national title. Matt Gilroy #97 and Zach Cohen #11 stand by (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Two high-profile Hockey East departures at Boston University and University of Vermont have college hockey fans abuzz, questioning two 2009 Frozen Four coaches' decision making.
When junior forward Andrew Glass was dismissed from the Boston University men's ice hockey team at the beginning of January, it surprised many. Glass wasn't a consistent offensive performer who never moved beyond the third line in his three years.
Glass, however, made more headlines with this week's public rebuttal of his dismissal, and his questioning of legendary head coach Jack Parker's choice.
Glass and his parents submitted a statement full of legalese to the Daily Free Press, the BU student newspaper. In the statement, Glass alleges that his dismissal has to do with his tardiness to an optional workout during "study period."
The NCAA regulates the amount of time student-athletes practice or play during finals time, but the rules are somewhat benign when it comes to a school's "study period" -- that gray area where classes are complete, but finals haven't officially started. BU's study period lasted from Saturday, Dec. 11, until Tuesday, Dec. 14. BU played and lost to RPI on the 11th, during the study period. Glass admitted being late to functions prior to that game, but that Parker had forgiven him.
Glass had a final exam on Tuesday, the only day of team practice between the RPI game and Wednesday's start to finals. Because of the final, Glass says he was excused from practice. At the last minute, however, Glass alleges that Parker and his coaching staff changed the practice to a workout, and the workout had moved to Monday. Explains the Daily Free Press:
"Glass said the text indicated that anyone with study commitments could just go after and do the workout on their own, which is what Glass did."
Soon after, Glass found his locker cleared out, and after weeks of no communication on either side, found out Parker no longer wanted him on the team after the holidays. Glass and his father met with Parker, who brought up the workout and a team exercise last spring where players ranked themselves as reasons for his dismissal, reasons the Glass' did not find sufficient:
"During our meeting, it became quite clear that Parker wasn’t even sure of the details himself as to why Andrew missed the optional workout and he definitely didn’t care what Andrew had to say."
A mum Parker's only comment in response to the lengthy allegations was that he let Glass go for "violations of team rules."
However, Glass' teammates are making statements against Glass. While an anonymous teammate called Glass' claims rubbish to the Daily Free Press, former Terrier Colby Cohen, who left school over the summer to play in the AHL, Tweeted on Saturday afternoon to college hockey writer Julie Robenhymer:
"Glass thing at BU is a joke, he's lucky he didnt get the boot last yr, coach parker was fully justified, glass is a liar"
No matter what side is correct, Glass' claims may not hold up in the NCAA regulation realm. The events in question took place within the "study period" and not the finals period.
Unfortunately, this isn't the only academically related dismissal that have Hockey East fans wondering these days.
Last week according to the Burlington Free-Press, University of Vermont senior Wahsontiio Stacey told his team, mired in last place in Hockey East, that he would be focusing on academics for his last semester. Stacey had been suspended by UVM head coach Kevin Sneddon for the team's series at Northeastern two weekends ago, for missing team functions. Just prior to his suspension, he also had been suffering from a "possible mild concussion" after a hit to the head in a game against Boston University in early January.
In his departure, Stacey cited a desire to stay in school and not attempt to enter pro hockey early. One would surmise that Stacey, after three and a half years of devoting his college days to hockey, may have wanted to experience what life was like as a "normal" college student, especially given the woeful position the Catamounts are in this season.
Sneddon, who as Andrew Merritt of the New England Hockey Journal points out is barely speaking to the media these days, bitterly spoke of Stacey and his choice:
"I can’t stand quitting, whether it’s in a game or whether it’s on a project that you start and don’t finish … but if you’re not 100 percent invested in something, then you’re doing everybody a favor by stepping down, and I think that’s the situation we’re in right now. "Our players in the locker room deserve better, and I think they were getting frustrated by it," he said. "If you not in 100 percent, you’re better not being in at all."
Despite Sneddon's terse words, senior defenseman Dan Lawson took a different approach towards his teammate's departure in the Burlington Free-Press:
"His decision was his own personal decision," Lawson said. "I don’t think anybody has any problems or anger or animosity toward him whatsoever."
Stacey, who was leading Vermont in scoring at his departure, has not issued any public statement on the matter. But the one thing not addressed was Stacey's alleged concussion -- how much did that have to do with his final decision?
That withstanding, Stacey's departure makes him the sixth hockey player to prematurely depart Vermont since their 2009 Frozen Four appearance. Only Viktor Stalberg, a Hobey Baker Top Ten Finalist during '08-'09 and now playing with the NHL Chicago Blackhawks, left without controversy. The high number of departures has some within college hockey wondering if Sneddon may be on thin ice at Vermont, both with his players and his athletic department.