Breaking News
More () »

UNC hockey team suspended until 2026 over allegations of hazing, underage drinking

UNC began investigating allegations of violations of the student conduct code last spring. The club hockey team said it will appeal the suspension.

GREELEY, Colo. — The University of Northern Colorado has suspended its club hockey team through 2026 after an investigation into alleged violations of the university's student code of conduct.

According to a letter from Stephanie Stephens, the university's Assistant Dean of Student Development, the investigation was conducted in response to a report that "outlined allegations of alcohol consumption by and distribution to minors, hazing behaviors, and physical endangerment of members that occurred during the 2022-2023 Club Hockey season."

UNC's investigative report said its investigators found the club hockey team drank during official activities at an off-campus house where some players lived, allowed underage players to illegally drink from a keg at party and then were not honest about it when investigators asked.

"Allegations of violations of UNC’s Student Code of Conduct by members of UNC’s Club Hockey team were brought to the attention of the university last spring," university spokesperson Deanna Herbert said in a statement Tuesday. "That resulted in the university launching a months-long investigation to thoroughly and carefully gather information about the allegations. The university's actions and resolution demonstrate that the safety and welfare of students and the campus community remain our top priority."

The UNC hockey team confirmed the suspension on social media with a post saying they plan to appeal. "It happens. Everyone does it. And we just caught a bad break basically," said club president Nick Sheridan. "We don't think the ruling is fair for what we are being punished for."

The UNC hockey team is not an NCAA team. Instead, they are a club team governed by the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). Sheridan fears that the three year suspension will mean the end of the club program.

Team members said it is an important part of the community, not just their college experience. "It hurts really bad, not for just the school but for everybody that we won’t be able to play," said Brendan Meyer, who said he grew up watching the team in Greeley and now serves as the club's treasurer.

"We’re kind of in shock about the timing of this," he said. "The main reason people come out is they want to see a UNC team win and we win." 

Chris Perry is the communications manager for the ACHA and said the suspension of the UNC program would have ripple effects. "They’re just known to be a top-notch competitive program, so this is big news today," he said.

"We just became aware of the news through the public means after we noticed the team’s announcement via Twitter," Perry said. "The basis of the suspension is listed in the comments but we haven’t seen any information from the school and are in the process of gathering all the info that we can."

Perry said when there are allegations of violations of the ACHA guidelines or student codes of conduct, they rely on the schools themselves to govern the student athletes. 

"There are 450 schools in the association," Perry said. "We rely on them setting their own standards for what they require from sponsor club hockey teams, men or women. When UNC makes its decision, we uphold that."

Perry said if the UNC hockey program is suspended for three years, it will have a ripple effect on other teams in the association that will have to scramble to find other teams to play to fill their schedule. 

"So now those teams have a hole in their schedule to fill somehow and some way," Perry said. 

Perry said the student athletes are the ones that suffer from this situation. 

"It’s a sad situation and you feel bad for the student players – these are true student athletes and they pay to play. They are truly playing for the love of the game, literally. Everyone says that, but in the ACHA that’s truly the essence. They are playing for their university and they love the game, so much so that they are paying for that privilege to play for UNC. It's a shame when a program is affected like this."

Perry said the ACHA is waiting to see the decision from UNC. 

"We respect and support the decision of the university," he said. "If they believe there has been a violation and they have the evidence to support it, it’s not our place to come in and dispute that and we must deal with the after-effects."



Before You Leave, Check This Out