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Stephen J. Lee, Forum Communications, Published September 25 2012

Details of UND hockey party emerge; include one player hospitalized

GRAND FORKS – The call to University of North Dakota police earlier this month that resulted in four UND freshman hockey players being cited for underage drinking and seven other players suspended, came in as a request for medical assistance.

The responding officer, Cheryl Sevigny, reported that paramedics suggested two of the freshmen be watched overnight and took another to the emergency room on suspicion of alcohol poisoning.

On Friday, Grand Forks County prosecutors charged the four freshman players with underage drinking, a Class B misdemeanor. They are Jordan Schmaltz, 18; Bryn Chyzyk, 19; Zane Gothberg, 20; and Drake Caggiula, 18.

All four are scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 30. UND says it will handle their discipline internally.

In her report, Sevigny said she received a call from the 911 dispatch center around 8 p.m. Sept. 15 about “a highly intoxicated male subject passed out in Room 102B Walsh Hall and the RAs were unable to wake him.”

Nicholas Garfield, the resident assistant in Walsh, made the 911 call.

He said he’s confident he kept one or more of the freshmen from a possibly critical problem, he said.

Three passed out just as Garfield was going on duty that evening. He told the Herald, “I saw members of the hockey team being brought in.”

Freshman members of the hockey team live in Walsh Hall, Garfield said, and older team members were carrying in obviously intoxicated freshmen who could not walk on their own.

When he asked what was going on, Garfield said, “a few of the hockey members told me they have it taken care of and I should just go back to doing what I was doing.”

But he was concerned about the welfare of the freshmen and called 911, he said. “In the process of making the call, I deemed it morally weird and unethical if I did not go and check on them, either way. It didn’t matter what they said.”

Officer Sevigny said in her report that, when she arrived at Walsh Hall on the call about the one intoxicated player, Garfield told her there also was “another highly-intoxicated male subject passed out in Room 202B Walsh.”

“I asked the RA which of the subjects was in worse condition and he mentioned the one in Room 102B,” she said. “Upon arriving to Room 102B I noticed that there were two highly intoxicated male subjects passed out in that room.”

Garfield identified them for her, she said.

Gothberg, who had a strong odor of alcohol, was passed out face down on the floor when paramedics arrived and Chyzyk was lying on the futon.

Sevigny shook Gothberg, and he responded, but Chyzyk did not, even though she “shook him, tapped his face and spoke to him,” Sevigny said.

He had vomit on the front of his shirt.

“While I was trying to wake Chyzyk, someone mentioned that he had taken a lot of shots that night,” she said. “I then used a pressure point behind his right ear, Chyzyk started to move and I asked Chyzyk to speak with me. Chyzyk then mumbled he’s sleeping and swung his arm at me.”

He finally sat up and told Sevigny he was fine but had “consumed about a half bottle of straight vodka,” she said.

Altru paramedics showed up, checked Gothberg and determined he “would be fine to stay in his room,” she said.

Chyzyk needed someone to watch him all night, the paramedics said, and his girlfriend told them she would keep an eye on both Chyzyk and Gothberg.

Caggiula meanwhile, was taken to Altru Hospital for possible alcohol poisoning, Sevigny said.

Garfield then told Sevigny they still were missing one of the freshmen carried into the dorm, Jordan Schmaltz, who apparently wasn’t in his room, 102B, where Chyzyk and Gothberg were found. After looking elsewhere, police learned Schmaltz had locked himself in the bathroom in 102B while Sevigny and paramedics were checking on Gothberg and Chyzyk.

Sevigny said by now she found Schmaltz passed out in his bed. She shook him, tried to wake him, but “Schmaltz had his eyes partially open and was unable to answer my questions.”

Paramedics checked him out.

In slurred speech, he declined to go to Altru. A paramedic said he needed someone watching him overnight, and Chyzyk’s girlfriend said she could do it, since she was going to be watching the other two players in the same room.

Derek Forbort, a junior, and other older members of the team gathered in the hallway to find out what was happening, Sevigny said. Told that another officer was trying to call Athletic Director Brian Faison, Forbort asked why he “had to contact Faison.”

Forbort also told her “it wasn’t an initiation party but a party that had gotten a little out of hand,” Sevigny said.

Once Faison heard about the party, the four senior captains on the team – Andrew MacWilliam, Corban Knight, Danny Kristo and Carter Rowney – were suspended for the Oct. 19 game against the University of Alaska Anchorage.

A few days later, it was announced that three sophomores, all 21 or older – Connor Gaarder, Andrew Panzarella and Stephane Pattyn – will be suspended for the Oct. 20 game against the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Both games, part of a tournament, will be played in Fairbanks.


Lee writes for the Grand Forks Herald