Hockey head coach benched for Penn State series

Michael Williams

NMU hockey team head coach Walt Kyle and Associate Director of Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator Bridget Berube Carter were suspended Monday Jan. 19 for unconfirmed reasons.

Kyle
Kyle

The suspensions were made public Wednesday Jan. 21 in the early evening before the Wildcats landed at University Park, Penn. for their weekend games at Pennsylvania State University.

Kyle was named Wildcats head coach in 2002, after he was assistant coach for the National Hockey League’s New York Rangers, according to NMU’s website.

He also served as the Anaheim Mighty Ducks’ assistant coach before the Rangers. He was captain of the Wildcats in 1980-81 when they went to the NCAA Frozen Four tournament and was assistant coach in 1991 when they won a national championship.

Carter graduated from NMU with a physiology degree in 2004 and joined the athletics department shortly thereafter, according to NMU’s website.

The North Wind reporters went to Kyle’s, Carter’s and Athletic Director Forrest Karr’s houses Wednesday night to talk with each individual.

Reporters were told Kyle was at Lakeview Arena. He was not found there.

An individual at Carter’s house told reporters she was not available. An individual at Karr’s residence said The North Wind should call first, did not confirm if Forrest was there and closed the door.

“I confirm that Kyle and Carter were placed on administrative leave on Monday,” Assistant Vice President of Identity, Brand and Marketing Derek Hall said in an official statement. “No timeline is in place. It is NMU’s standard protocol to not comment on personnel matters.”

Hall said suspensions normally involve a timeline, but  that is not the case with Kyle and Carter.

He also confirmed conversations with Karr about the issue, but nothing has been decided. The administration is hoping to have more information by noon Thursday, Jan. 22.

“Karr will be handling the day-to-day compliance functions in the short term,” Hall said.

Hall added that athletics compliance involves many people across campus.

“NMU has a strong system in place,” Hall said.

In the meantime, Rob Lehtinen and John Kyle will co-coach the team.

Junior defenseman Barrett Kaib was disappointed to see Kyle benched.

“Obviously it’s not good having your head coach go down,” Kaib said. “I don’t think it will affect us not having him here. We will think that he is there by what we’ve learned this past year.”