St. Joe’s hockey’s season is over, and it’s not because the Marauders were beaten on the ice.
St. Joe’s announced Wednesday that it has forfeited the rest of its season, and its right to compete for a second straight New York State Catholic High Schools Athletic Association hockey championship because an internal investigation revealed several players violated the school’s code of conduct during a recent incident that took place off school property.
“We regret the team’s season must end on this note, but our investigation uncovered that many team players clearly violated our school’s code of conduct. This is unacceptable and there must be consequences,” St. Joe’s President Christopher Fulco said. “St. Joe’s students are expected to meet our school’s standards of conduct at all times, and in all places, including at all off-campus events.”
School officials declined further comment, citing student privacy regulations.
St. Joe’s (20-3-3) defeated St. Mary’s of Lancaster, 4-0, on Sunday at KeyBank Center to win the Niagara Cup as the Western New York Varsity Hockey Federation’s Monsignor Martin playoff champion.
Aside from singing “When The Saints Go Marching In,” the Maruaders’ postgame celebration morphed from full of joy to starting to focus on Saturday’s state final on Coney Island against Chaminade.
That is no longer the case, as St. Mary’s will make the trip downstate in St. Joe’s place.
“As a member of CHSAA, the Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association has a duty to send a representative to the state championship game,” MMHSAA Executive Director Pete Schneider said. “Due to the circumstances, St. Mary’s of Lancaster will be our representative.”
The decision to take St. Joe’s place initially caught the Lancers (12-8-3) by surprise, but now they are focused on winning the title.
Two years ago, St. Mary’s won the Niagara Cup and earned a shot at the championship, but lost during a weather-delayed trek to Long Island, in which the team was stuck on the bus for 13 hours due to a snowstorm.
“We know this is an opportunity to be a state champion,” St. Mary’s coach Mark Dantonio said. “We’re going to prepare over the next few days and hopefully win this thing.”
St. Joe's defeated Fordham Prep, 9-1, last year to win its 12th NYSCHSAA championship.