Youth Hockey Game To Be Replayed

Tuesday, February 20th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — A youth hockey game will be replayed after the coach of one team instructed his 13-year-old goaltender to allow the other team to score a game-tying goal.

West Michigan Grizzlies coach Mike McKendry pulled his team's goalie with 10 seconds left in a Feb. 3 game because the boy refused to follow McKendry's order. With the goalie out of the game, the Lansing Capitals scored an empty-net goal, tying the score.

The tie earned the Grand Rapids-based Grizzlies a spot in the District Six semifinals. Lansing advanced as well, as a wild card selection. Had the Grizzlies won the game, the wild card spot would have gone to another team, the Coyotes, also from Grand Rapids.

McKendry was fired the next day. The team then beat the Capitals in triple overtime in what both teams thought was a semifinal game.

Tournament director Barb Issel later disqualified the Grizzlies for what she called ``a thrown game.''

Her decision was overturned by the district council, which ruled that the Grizzlies' players should not be penalized for the actions of their coach. That decision in turn was overruled Monday night by directors of USA Hockey, Gerald Conley, a Plymouth attorney and president of the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association, said Tuesday.

The directors' decision is final, he said.

If either team wins the Friday night game at Big Rapids, that team and the Coyotes would meet in a semifinal game Saturday. The winner of that game would play the Jackson Jaguars Sunday for the district title.

If Friday night's game again results in a tie, the Grizzlies and Capitals would advance to the semifinals, and the Coyotes would be eliminated.