Witnesses sought in alleged assault allegations against former UNH women's hockey coach
DURHAM — Authorities are seeking information from potential witnesses as part of a criminal investigation into assault allegations against a University of New Hampshire women's hockey coach fired after an incident with a player during a game.
"The University of New Hampshire Police Department, in collaboration with the Strafford County Attorney's Office, is currently investigating an allegation of simple assault between former UNH women's hockey coach Brian McCloskey and a female hockey player. The investigation is the result of a complaint filed by the female UNH player. Investigation is ongoing and it would be premature for me to comment any further at this time," UNH Police Chief Paul Dean said in an e-mailed statement.
The complaint was made after a Wildcats' home game against Ohio State on Nov. 30.
The university has said McCloskey was fired for having inappropriate physical contact with the player on the bench.
That contact was not sexual in nature, according to a UNH spokesman.
Strafford County Attorney Tom Velardi said UNH police contacted his office to assist with the investigation. Durham police are helping as well.
"If folks saw something they think authorities should know about, we're hopeful that information will be volunteered," Velardi said.
McCloskey was an assistant with the men's hockey team at UNH before taking over the women's program in 2002.
McCloskey, who is seeking reinstatement, recently detailed his version of what happened at that November game in a letter to colleagues.
According to the redacted letter published at Fosters.com, McCloskey said he reached out for the jersey of an uncooperative player at her shoulder and put her on the bench to reprimand her after she yelled and turned her back on him.
Laura Studen, McCloskey's lawyer, has claimed that the university overreacted to the incident.
"Even assuming that his alleged conduct on November 30, 2013, was as described in the termination letter (and it was not) the university's termination of his (McCloskey's) employment was not only a vast overreaction and an excessive response ... but it was also improper and illegal," she wrote in a recent letter to UNH President Mark Huddleston.