December 17, 2008 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Two Spartans Leave Team; Two Out for Season

Merrifield returns to juniors for remainder of 2008-09 season; Turek dismissed

CHN Staff Report

EAST LANSING, Mich. — Michigan State, off to a rough 4-11-3 start this season, announced some roster shakeups today as it heads into the holiday break. Also, injuries incurred by sophomore defenseman A.J. Sturges in an off-campus fight in October, have been deemed serious enough to keep him out for the rest of the season.

Freshman forward Mike Merrifield will return to junior hockey to play the remainder of the 2008-09 season, while junior defenseman Ryan Turek has been dismissed from the team for "failure to meet team expectations," according to a release from the school.

“We’re disappointed ... that we have to part ways with Ryan Turek,” MSU coach Rick Comley said. “We have expectations for the members of this program, and Ryan did not meet them. Its unfortunate, and we wish him well as he pursues his next opportunity.”

Turek, a 21-year old defenseman, had played in 14 of the team's 18 games this season, and 30 and 35 games, respectively, in each of his first two seasons. He was selected in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Draft by St. Louis.

Also out for the remainder of the season with an injury, Comley said, is senior center Nick Sucharski. Sucharski missed time earlier this season with a shoulder injury, tried to come back, and then re-injured it. Sucharski, scoreless in six games this season after scoring 20 goals in 117 games over his first three years, will apply for a medical redshirt so he can return as a fifth-year senior in 2009-10.

Sturges was one of the Michigan State students hurt in an off-ice fight on Oct. 18. The 19-year old played in five games last season as a freshman, and had not played in a game this year. Charges stemming from that incident, which included unidentified Spartans football players, are expected to be filed this week. Sturges was briefly hospitalized after that incident with head injuries.

Merrifield, who was held scoreless in six games, will return to junior hockey for the spring semester, and will play for the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. His coach in Green Bay will be John Cooper, who coached Merrifield last season in the North American Hockey League with the St. Louis Bandits. Merrifield will then return to the Spartans in the fall of 2009 as a sophomore.

"In Mike’s case, this is a mutual decision, but one that will set him up for success and allow him to return here to Michigan State in the fall and be an important member of our hockey team,” MSU coach Rick Comley said. “It will give him a chance to play more than 30 games in the second half, and work not only on his game, but also on his physical strength. We look forward to Mike coming back to Michigan State and to our hockey program in September.”

The Spartans have 27 rostered players with the departures of Merrifield and Turek.

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