Two players gone
McCloskey firing aftermath continues
It is the latest chapter in the downfall and rebirth of the UNH women's hockey program. According to our story featured on page one, two former UNH defensemen - Megan Armstrong and Alexis Crossley - have opted to transfer to St. Lawrence and Boston University, respectively.
Crossley and Armstrong have had enough.
Following the firing of former women's hockey coach Brian McCloskey in December, only the most opaque - and often misleading - information was released regarding the reason for his dismissal. Rumors were abundant and the athletic department made little to no effort to clear things up while their ambiguity raked away at McCloskey's reputation. As time continued, the attention turned away from McCloskey and to the athletic department, which had become incapable of being transparent with the community that supports it. Athletes were silenced and the governors of Wildcat Country pushed forward, trying to put the whole thing in the past and out of mind.
And they were successful, until these two athletes separated themselves from UNH athletics. Crossley and Armstrong have removed the shackles that have restrained them since December and taken action in the only way they can: getting out.
Often in college athletics, an athlete will come to a university to play for a certain coach. For Armstrong, making the decision to leave UNH was not solely based on the absence of the coach she came to play for. Armstrong felt the department failed in its procedure of properly firing a coach and replacing him in a timely manner.
"We just didn't feel like we were supported by our athletic department," Armstrong said.
Make no mistake, the hiring of Hilary Witt as the new head coach tends the wound inflicted on the program by its own department. For the sake of UNH women's hockey, an esteemed program despite its recent stagnation, we hope the departure of these two athletes is the last of the adversity this team must face. Whether more skaters will follow in their footsteps is yet to be seen.
It's time for UNH athletics and athletic director Marty Scarano to reflect on this past academic year. The department received a firestorm of bad press, including a feature story in The Boston Globe on McCloskey, which was less than flattering to UNH.
In the story, which was highlighted on the front page of arguably the most-read newspaper in New England, then-team captain Nicole Gifford ripped the athletics department, calling its effort in handling the McCloskey situation "pretty pathetic."
As for Crossley and Armstrong, their sights are set on the future while UNH cleans up the past.
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