Statement from UAA hockey player Nick Haddad

Statement from former hockey player Nick Haddad

I have wanted zero involvement in this story since I first found out it was going to come to light a few weeks ago; however, after numerous phone calls from the media, police, investigators, alumni, etc., I think it is time for me to make a statement. 

 I am not denying that there was an incident, but I will say in my opinion the story has been greatly exaggerated. There was an incident with Coach Shyiak and myself where he slashed me across the pants during practice. Obviously it is not acceptable for a coach to do this to one of his players, and there is no excuse for it to have happened. That being said, I don’t believe his intent was to injure me and I think he regretted his actions immediately. 

He hit me in the front of my pants -- anyone who has ever put on a pair of hockey pants knows a slash hitting you anywhere other than the man region is not going to hurt. The loud noise from his blade slapping the pads made it sound much worse than it actually was. I felt no pain. Again, I'm not justifying what coach Shyiak did or denying there was an incident. I am just saying the way it was described in the previous article was a bit exaggerated. 

We exchanged words with a cluster of my teammates getting in between and separating us, and I was instructed to leave the ice. The next day I spoke with Coach Shyiak and told him he was in the wrong; he agreed with me, acknowledged his wrongdoing, and apologized. I accepted his apology, we shook hands, and I honestly haven’t thought about the issue until now. 

I can’t speak for all other players, but I never before (or after) that incident had any fear of him on the ice. He was an intense coach but in no way would I say he was violent. After speaking with teammates recently they all agreed with this, as well as the fact the incident has been a bit blown out of proportion. I didn’t fear losing my scholarship if the story came out, but rather saw it as an issue that had been taken care of between Coach Shyiak and myself -- in my mind the situation was over. That is why I initially denied the story to Doyle. A member of the University (I don’t remember who) tried to contact me, but I never replied. This is because, again, I felt the issue had been taken care of between Coach Shyiak and myself. 

Whether the University and/or Athletic Department handled the situation correctly or should have done a deeper investigation is not up to me to decide. As far as the criminal investigation into Shyiak, I feel it is ridiculous and should come to an end immediately. 

I ask that media, alumni, investigators, etc., respect my privacy and do not try to contact me anymore regarding this issue. This statement is the totality of what I have to say, and I will not answer your phone calls or call you back.