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Men's hockey rival Vermont cancels season after hazing cover-up

The University of Vermont cancelled its men's hockey season Jan. 14 in the wake of freshman walk-on Corey Latulippe's suit alleging that he was hazed during a team initiation earlier this academic year.

According to the Associated Press, the University has acknowledged that players were "coerced into drinking large amounts of alcohol, parading naked while holding one another's genitals and engaging in other degrading activities."

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Princeton senior captain Darren Yopyk said, "Obviously it's a really serious offense. It's a real message to be sent out to everyone that initiations can't be taken lightly."

The cancellation of the Catamounts' season wreaked havoc not only on its own program, but also on the Eastern College Athletic Conference schedule and standings. The coaches and directors of athletics of the 12 ECAC teams met Jan. 15 to decide on what adjustments would be made since Vermont would not be playing its final 15 games.

It was decided that the games the Catamounts did play — including a 6-2 win against Princeton Nov. 13 — would still be counted in their opponents' records. That decision necessitated a change in standings since at the end of the season, some teams will have played more conference games than others.

In order to address this issue, the league has changed its system of seeding teams for the playoffs. The ECAC traditionally has used a point system in which teams get one point for a tie and two for a win. However, this season a winning percentage will be used to rank teams. Ties will be counted as one-half of a victory for this purpose.

"The way it was handled obviously hurts us since we lost to Vermont, but given the situation and since there's no precedent, I think they handled it as well as they could," Yopyk said.

The Vermont team took preliminary action Jan. 4 after State Attorney William Sorrell launched a probe into the investigation.

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While the probe and a preliminary report conducted by the university caused the three players named in the suit to be suspended from the team, the season was subsequently cancelled only when it was found out that other players had lied to the investigators in an attempt to cover up what had occurred, according to the University of Vermont.

"We have received indications that a number of players were not completely truthful during our investigation of hazing allegations."

Ramaley said at a news conference Jan. 14.

Schedule change

The ECAC schedule was also changed so Vermont's traveling partner, Dartmouth, would not be forced to play on back-to-back nights with its second opponent having enjoyed a day off the previous day.

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For example, Princeton was originally to face Vermont at Baker Rink on Feb. 18, with a game against Dartmouth on Feb. 19. The Catamounts' scandal, however, would have created a day off for Princeton before the matchup with the Big Green, giving the Tigers an advantage. To fix this situation, the Dartmouth game — and all other Big Green Saturday games — have been postponed for one additional day.

NEWS AND NOTES: Prior to the cancellation, Vermont had posted an ECAC record of 3-2-2 . . . Princeton will now be prevented from attempting to build on its 3-2 victory over Vermont at Baker Rink last season — the Tigers' first home win over the Catamounts since the 1991-92 season.

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