We’re all for the Niagara men’s hockey team being able to play the schedule it deems necessary, but let’s give Ed McLaughlin two minutes for lamest excuse when the Niagara athletics director was asked why the hockey series between Niagara and Canisius won’t continue this year.
“We were short on home games this year and didn’t want to put another road game on the schedule for us in terms of our student-athletes and travel,” McLaughlin told another media outlet. “We don’t want to put kids on the road so much they don’t have time to be college students.”
Really? Put them on the road so much as in 25 extra minutes?
Niagara has long felt superior to Canisius in hockey and rightfully so. For years, the Purple Eagles reigned supreme in facility, scholarships and played in what was regarded by insiders as a better, albeit smaller league.
The feud has gotten hotter in recent years as Canisius has closed the gap, which hasn’t sat well with Niagara, its fiercest rival in every other sport.
And the decision to keep the Griffs off the schedule this year makes sense — when College Hockey America dismantles at season’s end and Niagara makes the jump to Atlantic Hockey, the two teams will forever be bound together in a bigger league and getting games against power conference teams will become even trickier.
So, the schedule is Niagara’s prerogative, plain and simple. No explanation necessary.
But to say that “travel” would be an obstacle to playing a team that’s less than 30 minutes away is silly. We’re pretty sure the Purple Eagles could have been safely tucked into their dorms and apartments by 11 p.m., even if a game at Buff State went into overtime.
The good news? All this drama should make the first AHA clash between the two squads that much more volatile when the 2010-11 season rolls around.