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URGED TO SPEAK UP, NHL PLAYERS DETERMINED TO STAY TOGETHER
Published March 9, 1998
USOC Exec Dir Dick Schultz said that he believes he knows which "two or three" players on the U.S. men's hockey team were responsible for the room vandalism in Nagano, and if the players don't come forward, he said the USOC's "only option" would be to sanction the entire team, according to Nicholas Cotsonika of the WASHINGTON POST. Schultz said that he would give the players "a week to come forward before any action is taken." Schultz: "You know, it's not that big a deal if somebody would just come forward and say, 'Hey, we did it' and apologize." Schultz added that "how severe the punishment will be -- and how far-reaching -- will depend on whether the players come forward and how soon" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/9). Late last week, USA Hockey Exec Dir David Ogrean sent letters to the players, citing the "gravity of the situation and the impact on USA Hockey," which is dependent on income from membership dues and corporate sponsors. He said he has received more than 500 "negative messages" on the vandalism incident. One league source: "If they won't cooperate, then let them all pay the price" (Brooks & Berman, N.Y. POST, 3/7). RESPONSE: The Islanders' Bryan Berard: "[W]e're going to go down as a team. That's the way we want it" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/7). Capitals and Team USA coach Ron Wilson: "I think it's gotten to the point where no one is going to step forward" (WASHINGTON POST, 3/8). The Blackhawks' Chris Chelios: "We got blamed for everything else; let them figure it out" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 3/8). But in N.Y., Larry Brooks wrote that, despite some threats, the punishment "must fit the crime," and a guilty player should face community service and donations to a youth hockey organization (N.Y. POST, 3/8). In Denver, Terry Frei wrote guilty parties should just "step forward, say they're embarrassed and sorry -- and ask where they should send the checks" (DENVER POST, 3/8). In Boston, Kevin Paul Dupont: "'Fess up and be done with it. In six months, no one will remember your names" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/8). In Dallas, Cathy Harasta wrote the incident "will not go away by itself. The innocent must act" (MORNING NEWS, 3/7). In N.Y., Frank Brown wrote someone from the USOC, NHL, NHLPA or USA Hockey "better get fired once this gets fixed" as the organizations "are accountable for allowing this to snowball" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/8). In Toronto, Steve Simmons wrote that "more than one high level" NHL exec is "convinced" that NHLPA Exec Dir Bob Goodenow is behind the "cover-up" and "intent in protecting" his union members (TORONTO SUN, 3/8). In Calgary, Jim Taylor wonders, "Who's in charge here, Inspector Clouseau? This isn't exactly the pursuit of Carlos" (SUN, 3/8).