ANTIGONISH, N.S. — St. Francis Xavier University says it will appeal a 10-game suspension handed to X-Men men's hockey coach Brad Peddle in the aftermath of an ugly brawl against the Acadia Axemen.
Leo MacPherson, director of athletics and recreation at St. FX, says in a statement the university will appeal Peddle's total game suspension.
"The severity of the sanction fails to consider the historical context and the larger issue that ultimately triggered the event," MacPherson said.
Atlantic University Sport issued eight-game suspensions to Peddle and Acadia coach Darren Bruns on Tuesday for their actions during a Feb. 2 brawl that spread from the ice to both squads' benches. The coaches previously received automatic two-game suspensions. The coaches were hardest hit in terms of number of games.
Acadia forward Rodney Southam has taken responsibility for the comments that led to the bench-clearing brawl. He had told Sam Studnicka of St. FX he "looked like a rapist," which prompted the melee. Southam later issued a statement saying he was unaware that Studnicka has a sexual assault survivor in his family.
The St. FX statement alleges Studnicka has received other abuse in the past.
"Coach Peddle and Mr. Studnicka have provided clear statements as to what has occurred dating back to the 2016-17 season, including the fact that this issue has been brought to the attention of the Acadia Athletics program in the past," the statement says. "We believe the events of Feb. 2 were completely avoidable."
Automatic suspensions for a total of 39 games and an additional 36 games of suspensions have been handed out by the conference.
Videos posted to social media show players on both teams hurling profanities, striking each other and grabbing each other's jerseys near the Acadia bench during the brawl.
St. FX was scheduled to play host to Acadia in Game 1 of a best-of-three playoff series on Wednesday night.
The Canadian Press