BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Erie Community College's President Jack Quinn confirmed Monday that a student hockey player has been suspended for one week after hitting at referee at the end of a hockey game Sunday.
Earlier Monday, Quinn and ECC's athletic director released statements after a member of the college's hockey team, Brandon Day, of Cheektowaga, knocked a referee to the ice during Sunday's incident at SUNY Broome Community College in Binghamton.
Day, who met with college administrators Monday, also faces criminal charges in connection with the incident.
A Sports Illustrated video shows the hockey player coming out of the penalty box, skating directly to a referee, and knocking him to the ice during a NJCAA Championship game against Dakota College of Bottineau.
SUNY Broome Community College officials say the incident, which occurred with just 39 seconds left in the contest, happened at about 5:45 p.m. and the referee, a Binghamton resident, had been blindsided by the hit. A team doctor evaluated him at the SUNY Broome Ice Center.
"The act of one player is in no way indicative of our mission as an educational institution, and it does not personify the cordiality and dedication to service instilled in our student body," Quinn said. “We regret that this instance marred an otherwise thrilling game between our student athletes and those of Dakota College of Bottineau, and we will handle this situation with all appropriate disciplinary actions.”
He also issued an apology on behalf of the college's trustees and the entire ECC community.
ECC Athletic Director Peter Jerebko also expressed his regrets for the incident Sunday evening.
"Our hockey program is one of great sportsmanship both on and off the ice, but last night’s incident was not indicative of that tradition," he said. "It was the act of a single individual who, today, is deeply remorseful, and is in the process of reaching out to both host Broome County Community College and the game’s official. We join him in this remorse, and extend it to the National Junior College Athletic Association, BCCC, champions Dakota College of Bottineau, and the game’s entire officiating crew. This behavior was completely unacceptable, and it will not be tolerated within our athletic program.”
"The student athlete is extremely remorseful and plans to express that to referee as well," Quinn told WGRZ-TV Monday Afternoon.
In the meantime, Quinn says he can only hope what he described as the rouge conduct of a single student athlete will not result in any sanctions against the ECC Hockey program by officials with the National Junior College Athletic Association.
"We just don;t know yet," said Quinn. "We've had an excellent program, and this is the only incident like this which has ever occurred. So we hope for the best," Quinn said.
Broome County Sheriff's deputies have charged Day with a misdemeanor count of fourth-degree criminal mischief, along with disorderly conduct and second-degree harassment, which are both violations and the legal equivalent of a traffic ticket. He will appear in the Town of Dickinson Court at 4 p.m. March 21. The incident is still being investigated and more charges are possible.
"I've never seen anything like it," said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, who is himself a longtime coach of youth Hockey.
"This might be the end of his (Day's) hockey career... a lot of coaches will not take a chance on a player who has demonstrated an ability to just explode like that," Poloncarz said.
The Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin/Pressconnects.com contributed to this report.