Buffalo amateur hockey teams, one a junior college squad and the other made up of teenagers, are gaining national attention for the wrong reason. A player is suspended from classes and facing criminal charges while a youth hockey coach familiar to Buffalo Sabres fans is suspended indefinitely as the results of their alleged behavior in weekend games.
Erie Community College has suspended student-athlete Brandon Day, a freshman, after receiving a match penalty for abusing an official. It happened late in the third period of the NJCAA National Championship game. The Kats were trailing 7-4 with less than a minute remaining in the third period when Day was sent to to the penalty box. As seen on video (below), Day leaves the penalty box and knocks a referee to the ice.
The official was not serious injured but Day faces charges in Broome County, where the game was played. He is charged with second-degree harassment, disorderly conduct and fourth-degree criminal mischief and is, according to reports in the Binghamton area, scheduled to appear in Town of Dickinson Court on March 21.
Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, a lifelong hockey player and himself a youth coach, called the incident shocking and unacceptable. He stated that ECC players represent not only the college but also Erie County and for that reason apologized to the referee involved.
"It is a game," Poloncarz said. "Something like that can lead to significant injury and harm to an individual who is an on-ice referee, who is basically there to ensure that people are safe during the game and that it's played fairly."
ECC President Jack Quinn did not identify Day during his remarks, but told reporters that the student had been suspended pending further investigation.
"We'll take a closer look at it, just as if it were an altercation in the cafeteria," Quinn said. "It's the same process and that student will be afforded his or her rights, just like all students are. But the message has to be clear that this kind of behavior is not condoned at Erie Community College."
Quinn added that Day expressed significant remorse and was planning to reach out to other parties involved in his incident, including the referee.
That incident came one day after Buffalo Police were called to HarborCenter in downtown Buffalo to investigate an incident involving Andrew Peters, the former National Hockey League player and coach of the Buffalo Junior Sabres' 15U squad. A video shows him apparently striking an opposing player during a brawl in front of the Buffalo bench during a weekend game.
Peters was not charged as of Monday afternoon but he was suspended indefinitely by the Junior Sabres organization.
Below: video of ECC player attacking referee. (courtesy YouTube/Midwest Radio of Fargo-Moorhead.)
Below: Video of Buffalo Junior Sabres coach Andrew Peters involved in incident with opposing player during a Saturday game at HarborCenter. (courtesy YouTube/Pin Sake. WARNING: language heard at the end of the video may offend some)