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D3: IPFW Goalie Forfeits Eligibility for ECHL Game?

The Indiana University – Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW) Hockey Team was excited to learn that Sophomore Goalie, #35 Todd Mancuso, was offered a spot as an emergency goalie for the Fort Wayne Komets of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) for their game against the Reading Royals on December 21st, 2013.

The Komets top goalie, Cody Reichard, was called up to Iowa of the American Hockey League and the Komets needed someone to backup Andrey Makarov.  They reached out to local IPFW goalie Todd Mancuso.  Per ECHL rules, Mancuso (the emergency backup) can only enter a game if the starting goalie is injured, regardless of the score.

The game ended in a 2-1 shootout loss for the Komets and Mancuso wasn’t needed on the night.  Even so, it was an exciting day for the IPFW team and hockey community.

Unfortunately, it appears that this game will cost Mancuso the remainder of his collegiate eligibility.  Per the 2013-2014 ACHA Manual, “Student-athletes who have played professionally… shall not be eligible for competition in the ACHA.”  It goes on to clarify what “Played Professionally” means: “student-athlete was on a roster in a regular season game for a professional team… even if no pay or reimbursement for expenses was received by the student-athlete.”

At first glance, this rule fits the description of this situation and is an incredible oversight with Mancuso being listed as a sophomore and having up to 3 years of eligibility left.  ACHATalk.com has not learned of an official ruling on this particular situation from the ACHA.  The ACHA Manual also indicates that there is an appeals process and states that the “Ruling on a Player’s eligibility is a function of the Divisional Commissioner.”

It is unknown if Mancuso was aware of these consequences prior to accepting the offer from the Komets, or if this was his last semester playing for IPFW all along, due to early graduation or other possible reasons.

An email sent to IPFW Head Coach Ron Leef, the Fort Wayne Komets, the ACHA and to the email address listed on the IPFW team website for comment on this story have not been returned.

What do you think of this rule from the ACHA?  Is there cause to take another look at it?  Should there be an exception to this rule for goalies who dress as a backup in leagues like the ECHL?

5 comments

  1. D3AllStar
    D3AllStar /

    Wow. That sucks! There is no way he knew that before suiting up.

  2. CarRamRod
    CarRamRod /

    I feel bad for him, but it is funny. The rule makes sense. I just can’t believe that his coach didn’t know/look into it.

  3. fishbert
    fishbert /

    I hope he appeals. Can’t imagine the rule was made with the intent of harming students filling in as emergency backup goalies. It’s totally different than a player who is on a roster by merit, and I’d think the ACHA would want to encourage that kind of experience, not stand in the way.

  4. MIhockey
    MIhockey /

    I agree with you fishbert, but what if he got into the game? Where do you draw the line? I believe this is the same rule that the NCAA has.

  5. Gary D /

    I would hope the ACHA has an appeal process for such a case. If the organization and its members are about keeping players in the game, then perhaps this is an exception to the rule — and a good one. I’d hate for a player to lose eligibility just because he had a great seat for one night and a nice story to tell his kids.

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