Men's hockey: 'This weekend is for Chay'
It may be Valentine's Day weekend, but don't expect the National Hockey Center to have much love in the air. UND's series at St. Cloud State will mark the first meeting between the teams since Husky forward Aaron Marvin injured Sioux captain Chay...
It may be Valentine's Day weekend, but don't expect the National Hockey Center to have much love in the air.
UND's series at St. Cloud State will mark the first meeting between the teams since Husky forward Aaron Marvin injured Sioux captain Chay Genoway with an illegal hit from behind into the boards.
Genoway suffered a concussion when his head smacked into the glass and 89 days later, he's still struggling on a day-to-day basis with the effects. Simple tasks such as looking at a computer screen, going to class and watching practice have caused headaches. He hasn't been able to exercise since the incident.
The team's fortunes have soured in his absence, too.
The Sioux were 7-1-1 with Genoway in the lineup. They are 6-9-4 without him.
They were averaging 3.67 goals per game with him in the lineup, only 2.47 goals without him.
They gave up 1.55 goals per game with Genoway, 2.52 without him.
UND hasn't shut the door yet to a possible return this season for the senior defenseman, but time is beginning to run short.
"It's tough to even look at him some days, especially Fridays and Saturdays," UND junior Brad Malone said. "You see a guy like that, who wants to be out there more than anybody any day of the week, and it's really tough. It's to the point now where we need to start doing things for him as much as the team. He's a big part of it. He wants us to do just as well with or without him. It hurts to see him there sitting and waiting."
Darcy Zajac, one of Genoway's two classmates on the squad, agrees.
"This weekend is for Chay," Zajac said. "We've got to be playing for Chay and we've got to get those two wins for him."
Getting two wins -- not revenge on Marvin for the illegal hit on Genoway -- was the common theme among Sioux players this week.
"We put it, more or less, behind us as a team," Zajac said. "We're looking to get two wins this weekend. Those other things settle themselves out in the end. Right now, we're going to get two wins and play good, consistent hockey and get ourselves rolling.
"There are times you want to retaliate and do something back, but this team is bigger than those moments right now. We need to get rolling and get on the right track. Winning these games is more important than retaliating at this moment."
Malone added: "We want to do the right thing for Chay, but the team comes first, always. I don't think anyone is going to put themselves ahead of the team and let their emotions get away."
Defenseman Joe Gleason said: "The whole thing with Chay is upsetting, we miss him and he wishes more than anything he could get back here with us, but our goal as a team is four points and we're going to do whatever we can to get that done."
Western Collegiate Hockey Association commissioner Bruce McLeod says the league isn't worried about a possible incident in St. Cloud, but supervisor of officials Greg Shepherd is expected to be on hand for both games.
McLeod did say that the league will start considering lengthier suspensions for flagrant hits, though. The WCHA's standard has been handing out one-game suspensions, which is what Marvin got for his hit on Genoway.
In contrast, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, in dealing with two recent illegal hits to the head, suspended one player for the entire season and another for 15 games.
McLeod said that the NCAA had a conference call after Marvin's hit on Genoway to clarify the rule and another one with the league's teams to warn them about a crackdown.
"(Longer suspensions) would definitely be a consideration after the warnings," McLeod said. "Knock on wood, we haven't had to deal with another one and hopefully we don't."
Reach Schlossman at (701) 780-1129; (800) 477-6572, ext. 129; or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .