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UND HOCKEY: Hakstol suspended by UND for two games; WCHA supports action

UND suspended men's hockey coach Dave Hakstol for two games with pay today following his actions during Saturday night's game at the University of Minnesota.

UND suspended men's hockey coach Dave Hakstol for two games with pay today following his actions during Saturday night's game at the University of Minnesota.

A Fox Sports North camera captured Hakstol sticking his middle finger up at referee Don Adam after a discussion between the two about a second-period penalty call.

Hakstol, who publicly apologized for the incident on Sunday, cannot be in the arena or have any contact with the other coaches or players from two hours before to two hours after next weekend's home games against the University of Denver. The Sioux don't play this weekend.

"For all actions, there are consequences," said Hakstol, who is allowed to practice with the team. "UND and Fighting Sioux hockey has extremely high standards. On Saturday night, I let those standards down. We take a great amount of pride at competing at a very high level -- competing with intensity and competing with integrity. Saturday night, I let our alums, players and fans down when it comes to the integrity side."

Acting co-athletic directors Betty Ralston and Steve Brekke determined the disciplinary action independent of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.


League commissioner Bruce McLeod said he supports the school's decision. The WCHA publicly reprimanded Hakstol for the incident, and McLeod said there will be no further penalties from the league.

"We're satisfied with the action taken by UND, and that's the end of it," said McLeod, who suspended former Minnesota coach Doug Woog one game for giving the same gesture during the 1996 WCHA Final Five.

Hakstol fielded questions from the media for a little more than 10 minutes in the basement of Ralph Engelstad Arena today, continually saying there are no excuses for his actions.

He called the incident a terrible mistake and said he was embarrassed by it.

"I hope the people who know me would say that Saturday night was a lot out of character," said Hakstol, who has a reputation for never showing emotion on the bench. "In life, there are often times where you wish you could go back a second or two. That's all it would take, a second or two, because of my realization immediately (of the mistake)."

Hakstol said he found out after the game that television cameras caught the obscene gesture, but he was under the assumption that they did.

"After the game. .¤.¤. was not the beginning of my concern with the issue," he said. "My concern began as soon as I made the gesture. It's something that was a reaction in the heat of the moment, and it was very improper."

UND president Charles Kupchella, who is in Phoenix, released a sharp statement about the incident.


"Obviously, we were disappointed by the grossly inappropriate actions of Dave Hakstol last Saturday," the statement read. "There is simply no excuse for such displays, anywhere, anytime, under any circumstance. We all regret that our coach's action has tarnished an otherwise superb athletic tradition at UND, and on behalf of the entire UND community, I extend our sincere apology to hockey fans and UND supporters everywhere.

"Coach Hakstol has been given a two-game suspension by our athletic department and the University, a suspension that has been supported by the WCHA. Coach Hakstol is also receiving a stern letter or reprimand with a clear warning that there will be no tolerance for any such actions in the future."

Hakstol said the coaching staff, which includes associate head coach Cary Eades, assistant coach Dane Jackson and volunteer assistant Scott Koberinski, will discuss each coach's roles for the Denver series over the next couple of days. Eades is the top assistant.

Saturday's game between the rival Sioux and Gophers was heated. There were 160 penalty minutes between the teams and two players -- UND's Darcy Zajac and Minnesota's Tony Lucia -- were given game disqualifications for fighting.

The obscene gesture came in the second period after Minnesota's Derek Peltier pinned UND's Brad Malone on the ice and cross-checked him high. Malone was then thrown into the penalty box by assistant referee C.J. Beaurline, causing the Sioux freshman to fall over the bottom of the boards and into the box.

Malone was given a double minor for roughing and a 10-minute misconduct for the incident. Peltier received a roughing minor.

"There's reasons that I was frustrated," Hakstol said. "However, there are no reasons for my actions and reactions to being frustrated.

"Hopefully this is something -- regardless of how difficult and embarrassing it is for me personally and professionally -- I'll have the opportunity to learn from. In some way, shape or form, it will make me a better person and a better coach."



Reach Herald hockey beat writer Brad Schlossman at 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or bschlossman@gfherald.com .

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