University Fires Assistant Coach, Suspends Four Players
MONCTON, New Brunswick (AP) _ The University of Moncton, a longtime powerhouse in Canadian collegiate hockey, suspended four players and fired an assistant coach Friday for their roles in an assault on a referee last weekend.
Mathieu Bibeau, Sylvain Ducharme, Pierre Gagnon and Frantz Bergevin-Jean of the Moncton Blue Eagles were suspended indefinitely, university spokesman Paul-Emile Benoit said.
The university also fired the assistant coach, Patrick Daviault, for his role in the melee at the end of a game with the University of Prince Edward Island.
``The university views that their conduct ... is incompatible with our educational mission,″ Benoit said. ``We will refer the issue to the internal disciplinary committee which will decide if additional sanctions are necessary.″
Moncton ended its season last Saturday with a 3-2 overtime playoff loss on a disputed goal at Prince Edward Island’s arena in Charlottetown.
Referee Brian Carragher escaped serious injury when a throng of Moncton players backed him into a corner of the rink after the winning goal and started throwing punches.
Witnesses said Carragher was also speared twice in the groin. A team official was seen uprooting a metal net mooring and hurling it through the rink’s protective glass.
The attack occurred after PEI’s Tyler Ertel put the puck just under the crossbar and back out with 31.6 seconds remaining in the first overtime period.
Players spilled onto the ice to celebrate, but play continued when Carragher didn’t signal a goal. He blew his whistle seconds later after seeing the extra players on the ice.
After conferring with his linesmen and the goal judge, Carragher ruled Ertel had scored, sparking the melee.
A spokesman for the Charlottetown police said criminal charges are expected to be filed next week.
Benoit said Moncton will ask outside consultants to conduct an independent review of its hockey program, and will decide by April 15 whether the Blue Eagles will compete in the Atlantic Universities Athletic Association next year.
Until then, the university has ceased all team activities, including player recruitment and administrative functions. Head coach Pete Belliveau has also been relieved of his duties for an indefinite period though he remains an employee, said Benoit.
The Atlantic Universities Athletic Association is also investigating the incident.