SCHENECTADY — Union College men’s hockey head coach Rick Bennett, who guided the Dutchmen to the 2014 NCAA championship, won’t be behind the bench this weekend when the team plays its first home games in over a month.
Union Athletics announced Thursday night Bennett was placed on paid administrative leave as the College investigates an allegation that was received late Wednesday evening.
Assistant coach John Ronan will run the team as the Dutchmen host Brown at 7 p.m. Friday and Yale at 7 p.m. Saturday at Messa Rink.
According to a press release, the team was informed of Bennett’s leave Thursday afternoon.
“The College takes all allegations seriously and immediately began looking into the matter,” the press release said.
Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said in a text message that there is no further comment on the matter until investigation is completed.
A call to Bennett was not returned.
Bennett joined the Union men’s hockey team in 2005 and served as assistant/associate head coach under head coach Nate Leaman. Bennett was promoted to head coach when Leaman left to become the Providence College head coach after the 2010-11 season. In his first year as head coach, the Dutchmen won the ECAC Hockey regular season and tournament titles. The Dutchmen won the NCAA tournament East Regional to advance to their first Frozen Four at the Division I level. They lost to Ferris State 3-1 in the semifinals.
The Dutchmen won another ECACH tournament title in 2013, but lost to Quinnipiac in the NCAA East regional final.
Union had its best season ever in program history in 2013-14, going 32-6-4. The Dutchmen won the ECACH regular season and tournament titles and made it to the Frozen Four. This time, Union beat Boston College 5-4 in the semifinals, and then topped Minnesota 7-4 to win its first national title.
One of the more memorable moments of the 2013-14 season was the brawl between Union and RPI at the end of the Mayor’s Cup game, won by the Engineers 2-1. Bennett had an exchange with then-RPI head coach Seth Appert. Bennett was suspended by the college for two games, and by the ECACH for two more games.
In his 11th season as head coach, Bennett is 192-133-45. Under Bennett, the Dutchmen have won 20 or more games six times and have had just two losing seasons.