ECAC Hockey suspends Bennett for 2 more games; Appert for 1 (updates with reaction)
The fallout from the Mayor's Cup continued late Wednesday afternoon.
The league announced that Union coach Rick Bennett received an additional two-game suspension, while RPI coach Seth Appert got a one-game suspension.
Bennett and Appert nearly got into a fight at the end of Saturday's game at the Times Union Center. Bennett threw a punch that glanced off RPI player Milos Bubela as Bubela was pushing Appert away.
Bennett, who was suspended by Union for two games on Sunday, will miss this weekend's games at St. Lawrence and Clarkson, as well as next weekend's home games against Brown and defending ECAC Hockey champion Yale.
Union issued a statement, saying "We accept the league's decision. As we have stated previously, we regret the incident. At this point, our focus is on moving forward."
Appert will miss Friday's game at Clarkson.
Bennett, who won’t be paid during the college-imposed suspension, said at a Monday press conference that he will “live with it, I’ll move on, I’ll learn from this, and I’ll be a better coach from it.”
He addressed the additional two-game punishment at the end of Wednesday’s practice.
"Basically, I said what I needed to say the other day,” Bennett said. "I stand by those words. I always will. I’m a man of my word. I respect what the league handed down."
Bennett is allow to conduct practices. Because of the school-imposed suspension, Bennett won’t travel with the team this weekend. It’s unclear whether or not the league will allow him to watch next weekend’s games from the stands.
Assistant coach Joe Dumais will be the acting head coach for the fourth-ranked and ECACH-leading Dutchmen the next four games.
RPI issued a statement, saying, "ECAC Hockey has taken the action it feels is necessary, and we fully support the decision of the league."
On Monday, ECACH commissioner Steve Hagwell issued supplemental discipline to Union's Mat Bodie and Daniel Ciampini, and RPI's Ryan Haggerty and Bo Dolan, with all four players receiving one-game suspensions.
Bodie will miss both games this weekend. He had already received a one-game suspension for a game disqualification. It was his cross-check to the head of RPI's Brock Higgs that triggered the fracas.
However, Bennett wasn't suspended by the league.
"We were apprised to this prior to Union's announcement, and had discussions," Hagwell said Monday. "It was in line with what we felt was appropriate."
That changed Wednesday.
"ECAC Hockey has continued to review the entire situation that occurred Saturday," Hagwell said. "After additional review and consideration, and discussions with league administrators, additional sanctions have been assessed.
"The league members pride themselves on adhering to the highest level of sportsmanship. Those objectives were not attained Saturday."
Also getting one-game suspensions because of game DQs were Union's Eli Lichtenwald and RPI's Luke Curadi and Mike Zalewski.