Atlantic University Sport confirmed the suspensions Wednesday of 15 men’s hockey student-athletes and two head coaches following a violent altercation which broke out during the third period of an AUS hockey game Saturday, Feb. 2 held at Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S.
Six student-athletes from the Acadia Axemen, nine from the StFX X-Men, and both team’s head coaches have received automatic suspensions ranging in length from two to five games—39 games in total—resulting from violations of AUS and U SPORTS playing regulations.
These suspensions take effect immediately are in place for tonight’s scheduled game (Acadia at Saint Mary’s).
“Every suspension announced today is automatic,” said executive director Phil Currie. “If you left your bench, you receive an automatic two-game suspension. If you were the third person in a fight, you receive an automatic two-game suspension, and so forth.
These would normally have been confirmed right after the game. But given the unprecedented number of players involved, the AUS hockey chair and I felt it was necessary to take the time to review all materials available to us and ensure nothing was missed by the officials who were dealing with a chaotic and dangerous situation in real time.”
Acadia head coach Darren Burns has received an automatic two-game suspension—one game as a result of his game misconduct penalty in Saturday’s game, and an additional game because an Axemen player was the first to leave the bench during the altercation.
StFX X-Men head coach Brad Peddle has also received an automatic two games due to Saturday being his second game misconduct penalty of the season.
Now that the automatic sanctions have been confirmed, the AUS disciplinary process will continue and supplementary discipline will be handed down once the more extensive review has been completed.
The executive director has filed official complaints to the sport chair on five student-athletes and three coaches involved in Saturday’s incident based on the initial review of the video evidence.
In accordance with conference policies, these individuals will be subject to an in-depth secondary review process as laid out in the AUS Standards of Conduct.
The secondary review will involve the AUS sport chair gathering additional evidence and speaking directly with players, officials and coaches involved to determine where more severe sanctions are warranted.
“This whole situation is extremely disappointing,” said Currie. “These are institutions of higher learning and as university sport administrators, violence at our events is unacceptable. There is no place for fighting in university sport—be it in hockey, basketball, volleyball or any other sport. Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our student-athletes.”
Additionally, allegations have been made public of distressing comments pertaining to sexual violence which may have played a role in this altercation. The nature of those allegations is very serious and is something the conference is aware of and intends to investigate thoroughly throughout the course of this secondary review.
“These allegations are troubling, to say the least,” said Currie. “We will not tolerate comments of this nature or gendered insults of any kind in our league.”
The complete list of automatic suspensions resulting from Saturday night’s game is as follows:
- Rodney Southam: Subsequent fight – 2 Games
- Owen MacDonald: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 Games
- Ross MacDougall: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 Games
- TJ Fergus: Game misconduct (interference from bench) – 2 games
- Cole Reginato: Leaving the bench during a fight (2 games) + Subsequent fight (2 games) = 4 games total
- Loch Morrison: Throwing Stick – 2 Games
- Darren Burns (Head Coach): Game misconduct (1 game) + first player leaving bench (1 game) = 2 games total
- Regan Spears: Instigating a fight (1 game) + fighting (1 game) = 2 games total
- Sam Studnicka: Subsequent fight – 2 games
- William Thompson: Subsequent fight – 2 games
- Nathan Pancel: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 games
- Mark Tremaine: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 games
- William Bower: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 games
- Bailey Webster: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 games
- Cole MacDonald: Leaving the bench during a fight – 2 games
- Aaron Hoyles: Leaving the bench during a fight (2 games) + 3rd man into a fight (2 games) + second game misconduct in same season (1 game) = 5 games total
- Brad Peddle (Head Coach): Game misconduct (1 game) + second game misconduct in same season (1 game) = 2 games total
AUS hopes to be able to complete the secondary review process within one week. No student-athletes or coaches subject to secondary review will be permitted to play or coach until the process is completed.