Bennett Addresses Suspension
CHN Staff Report
Union coach Rick Bennett faced the media today after the ECAC upheld a two-game suspension imposed by the school following Saturday's game against Rensselaer.
AFter that game, a 2-1 loss for Union, following a melee on the ice, Bennett physically went after RPI coach Seth Appert and had to be restrained.
"I respect their punishment," Bennett said. "It's well documented that the league has handed out suspensions before in the manner they're supposed to. And I thought this time it warranted that, and I respect that."
The ECAC chose not to attach a longer suspension to what the school imposed. ECAC commissioner Steve Hagwell said he conferred with Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin about the suspension Sunday, and was on board with the school's decision.
"No I don't (feel fortunate it wasn't longer)," Bennett said. "I felt the suspension kinda warranted the action."
The skirmish, captured on video by various fans and media outlets and disseminated on YouTube, caught national attention from places like Deadspin, Huffington Post and USA Today.
"I don't think it's great (the attention)," Bennett said. "I really feel for our school, our president, our athletic director and everyone involved in our program ... and more importantly, the players. They didn't deserve that from me. As much as I respect that support — they've been great through this — but I have to be better."
Bennett said he apologized to his players, but did not specifically explain what set him off.
"That's just one of those issues," he said. "Hockey's a passionate game. (I'm) a passionate person, I have a lot of pride — it's just one of those things.
"I don't feel good about it, but it was one bad choice. I'll live with it, I'll move on, and I'll be a better coach from it.
"Sunday was a very long day. I wish I could've reached out to every person that I've been involved with here at Union College or my past, just to explain that it's not me. It's not who I am. I don't want to be known as a tough guy, I want to be known as a team guy."