May 15, 2013 PRINT Bookmark and Share

Former Anchorage Player Accuses Shyiak of Striking Player

CHN Staff Report

Former Alaska-Anchorage forward Mickey Spencer alleges that former coach Dave Shyiak hit a player with his stick during a practice in 2011, then told players to keep quiet about it. Spencer made his allegations in a letter written to the school president and Board of Regents, it was reported in the Anchorage Daily News.

According to the letter, Shyiak violently struck forward Nick Haddad during a drill because the coach got angry that Haddad didn't stop in front of the net as instructed.

The Daily News obtained the letter. In it, Spencer said, "He tomahawked, lumber-jacked — whatever you want to call it — him across the thigh on his (hockey) pants. We knew this wasn't a small deal, it's kind of a big deal. I've seen a coach break a stick over a goalpost or the glass because he's pissed about something, but I've never seen one take out his anger on a player."

Two other UAA players corroborated Spencer's account of the report, when reached by the ADN.

Shyiak was fired March 29. The school is currently conducting a second round of a coaching search. Spencer left UAA over holiday break last season.

Shyiak, through his attorney, admits that he hit Haddad with his stick, but it was whack across his shin pads to get his attention, not intended to injure him.

The school says that, because the actions, if they took place as described by Spencer, are criminal in nature, that the incident has been referred to law enforcement.

According to Spencer, Haddad and Shyiak exchanged expletives after the incident, and Haddad was told to leave practice. Then Shyiak told the team to be quiet about it.

The school reviewed the incident in 2011, but it wasn't corroborated at the time. Athletic director Steve Cobb discussed it with Shyiak, but took no further action.

"I can no longer sit back and know that this went on and not inform someone about it," Spencer wrote in his letter, according to the ADN. "I hope to have children one day, and should they ever be athletes, I would hope that if something like this happened to them, someone would speak out and stand up for them.''

According to Shyiak's attorney, Spencer's allegations are geared more towards getting Cobb replaced as athletic director for his handling of the program in general, and new coaching search in particular.

"I think this is really misdirected, because in my view, it is really designed to oust Dr. Cobb and, unfortunately, Dave is bearing the brunt of this," attorney Kevin Fitzgerald said to the ADN. "The timing of this doesn't escape me. It's transparent.''

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