February 21, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

York: Hockey = Society

by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor

BOSTON — The season of bad boys in college hockey continues. (We first chronicled it here, in an article that gets more outdated as each day passes.)

Before there was even chance to get the ink dry a recent conversation with Boston College coach Jerry York, there was another player leaving school early for the pros (Niagara's Les Reaney) and more supplemental discipline for fighting (in the WCHA).

Then, today, it was revealed that a Brown player is facing charges of child pornography for releasing a sex tape of himself and an underage girl on YouTube.

"No, I haven't," said York, when asked if he'd ever seen anything like it. "Maybe if we looked and saw what happed in football and basketball the last 5-6 years ... We're subjected to the same problems in society as football and basketball is."

York saw the issues up close, when he had to suspend "indefinitely" Brett Motherwell and Brian O'Hanley earlier this season. Motherwell then left to sign a pro deal, and O'Hanley just never returned.

"Our objective is teaching right and wrong and make good decisions, and that actions have consequences," York said.

One thing you can say, though, is that the college coaches and institutions are at least not sweeping these discipline issues under the rug. We may not know the details, but they are being taken care of internally. Only North Dakota has gotten any criticism for not seeming to levy enough punishment on players after a couple of incidents, but that may only be because no one would say what the punishment was beyond a one-game suspension to T.J. Oshie.

"It's a recurring theme," York said. "Every day you pick up the paper and you could read something. So hockey is part of society."

The recent Canisius-RIT brawl was sort of a high-water mark — or low water, if you will — resulting in what amounted to seven-game suspensions for Canisius' Carl Hudson and RIT's Ricky Walton.

Hockey East commissioner Joe Bertagna said he could not recall any more severe punishments for on-ice incidents. Five years ago, Boston College's Patrick Eaves received two game disqualifications after a scary collision with Merrimack goalie Joe Exter, and it amounted to an automatic five-game suspension because they were his second and third DQs of the season. But that's about it.

As for the issue of NHL teams plucking away college players, York doesn't know if there's much that can be done about, other than the NHL simply telling its teams not to do it. Any rule that would require players to stay two years in school before leaving, would probably drive players away, and York doesn't think NHL teams will go for it.

"I don't know what the answer is but I don't think you can put rules into it," York said. "The pros won't go for that. If they draft someone, they want the (option) to sign him."

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