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Ex-WCHA coach accused of striking player; player downplays incident

Posted by: Chris Miller under People Updated: May 15, 2013 - 5:36 PM

Former Alaska-Anchorage hockey coach Dave Shyiak has been accused of violently striking a player with his stick during a 2011 practice.

According to the Alaska Daily News, ex-Seawolves winger Mickey Spencer sent a letter to the University of Alaska president, Patrick Gamble, and detailed the incident. The university has launched an investigation.

Spencer said Shyiak took a baseball-style swing at Nick Haddad and struck Haddad across the thigh.

"He tomahawked, lumber-jacked -- whatever you want to call it -- him across the thigh on his (hockey) pants,'' Spencer said. "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 [mad] about something, but I've never seen one take out his anger on a player.''

But Haddad downplayed the incident today, according to this Associated Press story:

Haddad says in a Wednesday email to The Associated Press that the university investigation into the incident is "ridiculous" and should end immediately. In his email, Haddad says Shyiak did strike him with a hockey stick, but it sounded worse than it was. They exchanged words, and Haddad was sent off the ice. He says they spoke the next day and resolved all differences, and that he hasn't thought about the incident since.

Shyiak was fired in March after eight losing seasons.

His lawyer, Kevin Fitzgerald, said: "He confirms he did strike Nick's knee pads with his stick. It wasn't an assault. It was, in essence, an attempt to get Nick's attention. It wasn't designed to injure Nick. It didn't cause any injury. Nick didn't report to the trainer, didn't suffer an injury, didn't go to the hospital.''

Spencer also alleged Shyiak told the team not to discuss the incident.

 

 

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