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Diary of a Mad Sportswriter: Shen sends eight to penalty box for the season

Diary of a Mad Sportswriter

Stan Hudy is a sportswriter for The Saratogian and Community News. He covers high school and youth sports in the Saratoga County area as well as writing a weekly book review on sports books. He's not just a "stick and ball" sportswriter, he's willing to take on any sport as well as any subject.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Shen sends eight to penalty box for the season

Eight Shenendehowa varsity ice hockey players have been removed from the team for their involvement Dec. 29 at a Morrisville hotel during a school-sponsored trip to a tournament. Shenendehowa ice hockey coach Juan de la Rocha caught six players smoking marijuana in a players room and six more were found to have involvement in the incident.


“The penalties ranged from five-day suspensions from school to long-term suspensions that could be as long seven weeks,” Shenendehowa Director of Physical Education and Athletics, Christopher Culnan said. “Four players will be eligible to return, eight players have been removed from the team based on their level of involvement.”

Culnan and High School principal Donald Flynt met with the 12 players and their respective parents on Tuesday to hand down penalties.

Culnan would not divulge the names of the offending players, citing school privacy policies.

Culnan confirmed that this event was the largest dismissal of athletes from any team during a sport season at Shenendehowa in the past 10 years.

“I think that due to the magnitude of the incident the school district took a long look at our code of conduct,” Culnan said. “At the end of the code of conduct there is a caveat that states ‘the facts of any incident may warrant immediate removal from the team if the Director of Physical Education and Athletics and the building principal believe that the offenses committed by the athlete warrants such action.’”

The first six offending players were turned over to their parents on Dec. 30 at the hotel after a discussion between de la Rocha, Culnan and the school administrators. The parents were on-site, making the trip to support the team. The remaining six players were suspended from competition as the investigation progressed and more facts surfaced.

“Our parents sign a code of conduct and our kids sign a code of conduct,” Culnan said. “Our coaches follow-up with me each season and our coaches go over the code of conduct at each of our parents night. I think this time those messages fell on deaf ears. Hopefully this will send a message that these actions will not be tolerated and will be handled appropriately.”

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