By Shane Dingman
Two rams hockey players have been kicked off the team after they left their Montreal hotel to satisfy midnight hunger pangs.
Goalie Dave Dolecki and left winger David Vigilanti believe head coach Louie Carnevale overreacted when he suspended them from the team for the rest of the season after they broke curfew early Sunday morning to get a burger.
“I think he [Carnevale] took it too far,” Dolecki said. “We kind of knew we were breaking the rule — we just wanted to get a bite to eat.”
Dolecki said he tried to talk to Carnevale about the incident but Carnevale wouldn’t even look him in the eyes. “He didn’t want to hear anything we said. He wouldn’t even look at us on the bus ride home.”
Carnevale stands by his decision to suspend the two players and does not think the punishment was too harsh.
“I set down laws for the good of the team and the program,” said Carnevale, who’s been coaching hockey for four years at Ryerson.
Carnevale said he told his players before they got off the bus last Saturday in Quebec that anyone who broke curfew during the two-game road trip would be “off the team.”
Team captain Anthony Miele said he thought “off the team” meant sitting out a few games. He was surprised on Sunday when Carnevale told the players an hour before their game against Concordia University that Dolecki and Vigilanti had been kicked off the team.
“You don’t want to lose players of their calibre,” Miele said. “They weren’t thinking of the consequences.”
The Rams played Universite du Quebec a Trois-Rivieres last Saturday with Dolecki in goal. After their 11-0 loss the team stayed in Trois Rivieres; they arrived back in Montreal between 12:30 and 1:15 Sunday morning. Miele said midnight is the usual curfew.
But Dolecki said he and Vigilanti were hungry after the bus ride and went out to get a burger. The two players knew they were disobeying Carnevale’s curfew rule, but Vigilanti said they only went out for half an hour and didn’t think going to get food would upset Carnevale.
The two ran afoul of random room checks and found Carnevale waiting when they came back.
“I know we let down out team,” Vigilanti said. “It’s his [Carnevale’s] decision but it’s very drastic. I’m disappointed, of course I’d rather be playing hockey.”
Dolecki was the Rams only back-up goalie. Carnevale said he has a replacement for Colecki but would not disclose who the player is. Carnevale said dressing the team’s manager, Tony Burzillo, is a possibility.
Miele believes the loss of Dolecki and Vigilanti may jeopardize the Rams chances at making the playoffs for the first time in almost a decade.
“We’re in a playoff run and these two guys are an asset to our team.”
Vigilanti and Dolecki said they now feel hostility from their former teammates. While most players are sad to see Vigilanti and Dolecki go, they are standing behind Carnevale’s decision.
But Miele does not question Carnevale’s actions. “They are being made an example of. He’ showing he’s not going to bend. Louie’s setting the tone.”