Wednesday, 13 February 2019

We Aren't Done Yet

I'm not going to say this was unexpected, but it appears that St. Francis Xavier University isn't quite done with the sanctions handed down by the AUS yesterday. As stated in the ruling yesterday, StFX head coach Brad Peddle was suspended 8 additional games on top of the 2-game suspension he was originally assessed. I had a feeling that StFX might appeal that suspension since I'm pretty sure that Peddle had tried to prevent the brawl from even happening after reporting the comments made by Acadia's Rodney Southam to the on-ice officials, but the AUS ruled that the coaches needed to have better control of their respective benches and levied the same heavy punishment on the two coaches.

Today, Leo MacPherson, director of athletics and recreation at StFX, released a statement that indicated that StFX would be appealing the suspension. In it, MacPherson writes, "The severity of the sanction fails to consider the historical context and the larger issue that ultimately triggered the event."

The statement went on to read, "Coach Peddle and Mr. Studnicka have provided clear statements as to what has occurred dating back to the 2016-17 season, including the fact that this issue has been brought to the attention of the Acadia Athletics program in the past. We believe the events of Feb. 2 were completely avoidable."

While the suspension will be in effect tonight as StFX prepares to host Acadia in their best-of-three quarterfinal series, the issue becomes larger when one considers that the 10 games handed out to Peddle will affect him into next season regardless of how this season finishes. I can understand StFX's concern regarding this, especially if they are eliminated in two straight games this week.

I have no idea when this appeal would take place based on the fact that the playoff series between the two teams starts tonight, but it seems that this incident simply can't be laid to rest. The suspensions were harsh when it came to the coaches, but the AUS made it very clear that they weren't happy with the actions - or lack thereof - of the coaches in keeping some sort of peace.

"The bench side of things could have been handled much better," AUS executive director Phil Currie said in an interview with CBC News yesterday. "You know we expect that in our regulations in terms of coaches' conduct and how they handle these situations."

Whatever the next steps are, you can be certain that StFX will be pushing for an appeal hearing as soon as possible to try and get their head coach back behind the bench for these playoffs or even this series. I'm not sure the AUS operates at that speed, but I'll say this: I kind of side with StFX here when you consider what happened before the brawl in Peddle's actions in trying to prevent things from getting worse after what Southam said to Studnicka.

We'll see what the AUS thinks when they finally hear the appeal.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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