February altercation ended season; players optimistic about return after suspensions
In February, the CU men’s junior varsity club ice hockey team’s season was cancelled after an altercation that occurred during a game against the University of Northern Colorado.
The American Collegiate Hockey Association suspended one player until Feb. 9, 2009, and the team’s coach for 15 games, which will begin with the next regular season game for the Buffs.
Scott Portnoy, a freshman forward, said that the decision to end the season that involved CU Club Sports Director Kris Schoech was one to protect the program.
“I guess he just figured in order to protect our future seasons, he wanted to make sure that nothing else would happen this year,” Portnoy said. “With three games left, he decided he would just finish our season right now and say ‘let’s just start over next year.'”
According to Portnoy, the team should be back next year with a clean slate. He is talking with Schoech in the next few days about the future.
“I can’t say I’m positive, but from everything that I’ve heard, there is still going to be a season. We should be off probation,” Portnoy said.
Other players thought it would be a drastic measure to get rid of the team next year.
“I didn’t really think it was as big of a deal as it got made out to be. I mean, hockey is a pretty rough sport,” said Scott Smith, a senior defender.
Smith also said that there will be a season for the team next year and that Schoech doesn’t seem to want to get rid of the team.
“I would assume there would be (a season next year). I don’t know why there wouldn’t be,” Smith said. “I don’t really see him wanting to scrap the team in general. I don’t think he wants to get rid of it.”
The team was already on probation for this year, so the decision to end the season early seemed easy for the club sports department.
“If anything happened this year, which it did, they knew they were going to be shut down,” Schoech said. “That’s a decision that the club sports council makes, and I had to back the executive council.”
Schoech also talked about the possibility that the team would not be reinstated for next season.
“The team would have to show new student leadership, and I would have to be very comfortable with the hiring of the new coach,” Schoech said.
Coach Tyler Katsos, who received the 15 game suspension, talked about the possibility of the team being cut from the program.
“Especially with the potential for the D-II varsity team to move up to D-I, I just don’t think it’s a good decision long-term to cut the JV program for next season,” Katsos said. “It’s one of those things that the clubs sports council has to look at in terms of the best interest of the University and the club sports program as a whole.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Kyle McDaniel at Kyle.McDaniel@thecampuspress.com