Coach correct in suspending players for season
Todd Bertuzzi. Marty McSorley. Chris Simon. Corey Tropp.
Tropp, a sophomore forward on the MSU hockey team, deserves his name on the aforementioned list of illustrious hockey stick-wielders gone haywire for his assault on Michigan defenseman Steve Kampfer in Saturday’s 5-3 loss to U-M at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. Kampfer had charged at Tropp, which was followed by MSU freshman forward Andrew Conboy punching and pushing Kampfer to the ice. Tropp then hit Kampfer over the head with his stick.
Both acts were uncalled for and unsportsmanlike. It has left a mark on MSU hockey and the university in general that will not be easily erased.
And for that, Tropp’s season should be erased. Anything short of a suspension for the rest of the season would be appalling.
Bertuzzi, McSorley and Simon, all current or former professional hockey players, earned at least a 25-game suspension (Simon hauled in a 30-gamer and a 25-gamer) for violence on the ice. McSorley and Simon used their sticks as weapons while Bertuzzi tackled a player from behind, paralyzing the player.
Kristen M. Daum
Conboy is the team’s enforcer, and his role in the altercation should be reviewed. His offense was less severe than Tropp’s and could even be considered as defending Tropp.
No doubt this was a heated rivalry game. MSU has had one of its worst seasons to date, which is especially frustrating for a team that won the national championship two years ago. But Tropp’s actions will have college hockey fans and anybody else who has seen his barbarian inspired response to losing a game of hockey thinking about how MSU fields a team of bullies and cheap shot artists rather than real hockey players who bring home national championships. Similarly, MSU fans will be grouped in with Tropp. He is a student here just like everybody else, and as an athlete he is an ambassador for the school on the ice.
Excuses such as the crowd being a factor are irrelevant when it comes to players at this level of hockey. Most college hockey players, including Tropp, play hockey throughout high school and then spend one or two years in junior hockey before playing in college. Tropp is used to the crowds, to playing rivals, to getting caught up in the moment. U-M hockey fans are known for scripting some of the most brutal and pointed chants in college sports, and considering Tropp has now played at Yost Ice Arena three times, he knew what to expect.
Tropp should be given a chance to redeem himself next season, as similar incidents in the NHL have allowed for retribution. But he must prove he is capable of controlling himself. He could face criminal charges. He could have to take an anger management course. He could even have his job back. But he has to prove he is capable of keeping in control and, above all, he has to apologize for his actions — not only to Kampfer, but to MSU.
Fans at MSU engage in the same lewd jeers at football and basketball games. Many students even research players’ family and personal histories so they have fodder to shout at opposing teams to get them riled up. Experienced and sensible athletes don’t let those comments irritate them. Tropp’s actions prove he is neither experienced nor sensible.