On Monday evening collgehockeynews.com reported that promising Canucks prospect Patrick McNally was removed from Harvard’s Roster along with three other players ahead of Harvard’s game against Umass Lowell.
Read past the jump for more.
College Hockey News in their reporting of McNally’s removal, imply that the Canucks prospect’s removal may be related to the Harvard cheating scandal which, rocked the Cambridge based campus in late August and September:
Four players have been removed from Harvard’s official roster and according to a report in The Crimson, some of the removals may be related to an academic scandal that swept the university late this past summer.
Max Everson, Patrick McNally and Mark Luzar were all removed from the Harvard roster last week. Stephen Michalek left the program in November and is currently playing for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the United States Hockey League.
We should note that any link between the academic scandals and McNally’s removal are, as of this moment, unconfirmed:
Can’t confirm that those players’ removal is related to the academic dishonesty issue as of yet. More on @chnews later.
— Joe Meloni (@CHNJoeMeloni) December 10, 2012
There just isn’t much available information at this point, but it’s clear from McNally’s removal that the offense – whatever is – is very serious. We’ll update this post with more details as we get them.
Update 2:04 PM EST (December 11th): The Vancouver Sun’s Brad Zeimer has confirmed with Harvard that Patrick McNally has "left" their men’s hockey team. He tadds that we shouldn’t expect any further comment on Harvard’s end, and passes along the suggestion that McNally’s departure may be linked to the Harvard cheating scandal:
Harvard won’t make any other comment but various reports suggest McNally departed amidst "academic scandal." #Canucks
— Brad Ziemer (@BradZiemer) December 11, 2012
Ziemer also passes along a quote from Harvard’s Assistant Director of Athletic Communications who doesn’t elaborate on the duration or nature of McNally’s departure. So, depending on how the Canucks choose to handle this news, and I’d assume they’ll handle it very delicately, we may not know for sure what’s going on here for a while.
It’ll be interesting to see where McNally, who had a tremendous first season for the Crimson last year, goes from here. If the offensive defenseman decides to forfeit his NCAA eligibility, he’s too old for Major Junior and would need a contract (though not necessarily an entry-level contract with the Canucks) before playing in either Kalamazoo or Chicago.
It’s worth noting that such a sequence of events would work against GIllis’ strategy of selecting NCAA players in the later rounds of the NHL draft. The Canucks prefer to pick NCAA bound prospects in later rounds precisely because doing so allows the club a few extra years in which they can monitor their progress, before deciding to offer the player an entry-level deal.
On the other hand, if McNally decides to return to Harvard he’d need to wait a while before he could re-join the team (presumably). We won’t speculate any further, but needless to say this situation isn’t ideal for a prospect with big league aspirations.