Tuesday, November 06, 2012

AHA Commissioner explains stiff suspension for Griffins forward

English: National Collegiate Athletic Associat...
English: National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) logo. Source: http://www1.ncaa.org/eprise/main/Public/mlp/promotions_special_events/pe_web/promo_manual/memos/identity.pdf Converted by User:King of Hearts from :Image:National Collegiate Athletic Association logo.png using Inkscape. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
On Sunday, Atlantic Hockey commissioner Robert DeGregorio explained his very lengthy suspension to Canisius sophomore forward Matthew Grazen for his check from behind on Air Force Academy junior Forward George Michalke who is still out with an apparent head injury.
Ben Kirst, USCHO Arena Reporter --- On Sunday, DeGregorio explained the punishment.

“I know that people are trying to compare this to what happened in other leagues,” DeGregorio said. “But I am the commissioner for Atlantic Hockey. My job is to provide a safe environment and to apply the rules of the NCAA to our league.

“I’m not responsible for what happened in Minnesota a year ago,” the commissioner continued, in apparent reference to Gophers forward Kyle Rau’s one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Denver’s Jason Zucker, “or in Hockey East or in any of the other leagues. Nor do I comment when I get calls. I am responsible for my league. In viewing what had happened, and the extent of the injury — and one of the things that I do and others don’t, is they don’t weigh the extent of the injury — I felt it was important.”

DeGregorio took a unique approach to the suspension. Grazen, who missed the Griffs’ road trip to Minnesota on Oct. 28 as part of his NCAA-mandated suspension for a disqualification penalty, was prohibited from playing in Canisius’ two-game series against Clarkson last weekend and will miss upcoming contests with Robert Morris on Nov. 9, RIT on Nov. 10 and archrival Niagara on Nov. 16.

Grazen will then complete his punishment later in the season when the Griffs travel to Colorado Springs to face Air Force on Feb. 15-16, a move made by DeGregorio in an attempt to diffuse potential on-ice retribution.
Frist, I have not been able to find video of the hit in question any but everything that I have read is that the hit was vicious and violent and worthy of a suspension.

I have to applaud the AHA Commissioner for having the stones to make a tough call. I believe that Degregoiro is right; his job is to ensure that the league provides a safe environment and to apply the rules of the NCAA to his league. Unlike another league office that comes to mind – almost immediately – whose threshold for handing out a suspension has to be very high before he will act upon an on ice hit or incident. Thank God, my favorite school is leaving said league after this season.

Hockey is a physical game but unnecessary and dangerous hits need to be addressed. You can have a physical game without decapitating an opponent or causing him to be a drooling vegetable.
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