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Stephen J. Lee and Brad E. Schlossman / Forum Communications Co. , Published September 21 2012

More UND hockey players suspended, while 4 will be charged for minor in consumption

GRAND FORKS – The University of North Dakota announced more suspensions for men’s hockey players stemming from a Sept. 15 team party, while a Grand Forks prosecutor said four players will face charges for underage drinking.

Sophomores Connor Gaarder, Andrew Panzarella and Stephane Pattyn – all of whom are at least 21 years old – have been suspended for UND’s Oct. 20 regular-season game against Alaska Fairbanks, the team’s second game of the season.

Earlier in the week, the school announced captains Andrew MacWilliam, Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney – all of whom are also at least 21 – would sit out the season-opener on Oct. 19 against Alaska Anchorage.

UND also announced an additional one-game suspensions to Kristo and sophomore forward Brendan O’Donnell for violating athletic department policy unrelated to the team party, meaning Kristo will sit out the entire opening weekend. O’Donnell will miss UND’s game on Oct. 19 against Anchorage.

The latest suspensions came the same day that a local prosecutor said underage drinking charges would be brought against four players.

David Jones, assistant state’s attorney for Grand Forks County, said he signed “informations,” or complaint sheets, on four UND hockey players under 21, he said, alleging they consumed alcoholic beverages.

The charges won’t be formally entered into the state court system until Monday, he said. Therefore, he declined to release their names.

The charge is a Class B misdemeanor. A $250 fine is typically mandatory on a first offense of this kind.

UND will only have 17 players available for the opening game – one less than what’s used to fill out a full lineup.

“This was a team party that resulted in a violation of team and departmental rules,” Jayson Hajdu, assistant athletic director for media relations, said in a statement. “The athletics department has conducted a thorough investigation and we are confident that the multifaceted disciplinary measures we have implemented will prevent such unacceptable behavior in the future.”

When the first suspensions were announced earlier in the week, UND said the entire team would be placed on probation, and further violations could result in reduction of scholarship money, suspensions or expulsion from the program.

The school also said the team will have weekly alcohol awareness meetings.

Lee and Schlossman write for the Grand Forks Herald