Union Men’s Hockey coach put on administrative leave following allegation


Maya Gempler '23

Union’s men’s hockey facing off against Yale on Saturday, January 22.

Dante Sasso

On Thursday, January 20, the Union College men’s hockey team was given the news that their head coach, Rick Bennett, would not be joining them as they headed off to face Brown University and Yale over the weekend. This announcement came after Bennett had been put on paid administrative leave after an allegation against the coach had been received by the Union Athletics Department on Wednesday, January 19.

Bennett’s removal put assistant coach John Ronan in charge of leading the team against Brown and Yale. In a statement released by the Union Athletics Department, the College explained that they are currently investigating into the matter and that they take “all allegations seriously.” The nature of the allegation is currently unknown.

On Friday, January 21, Union College faced off against Brown University and won with a score of 3-1. Following the game, assistant coach Ronan spoke at a press conference where he was asked several questions regarding the recent events relating to coach Bennett. Ronan explained that the team has decided to treat this like it were “business as usual,” explaining that “nothing has really changed” in regards to Ronan’s role with the team.

Ronan did confirm that he had spoken with Bennett since the allegation was received by the Union Athletics Department, saying “[Bennett] is in a tough situation right now,” and that Ronan will “support him to the end.” Ronan also clarified that he had not been told to refrain from contacting Bennett, and that he has been “checking in to make sure he is okay.”

Also following the game, the men’s hockey captain Josh Kosack ’22 spoke to reporters about the game and the allegation against Bennett. Kosack echoed Ronan’s idea of “business as usual,” explaining that “there is a lot going on right now… [the team] tried to stay as focused as we could.” He explained that some of the players felt it was strange not seeing Bennett on the sidelines, but Ronan was doing a great job filling in. Kosack also said that he had texted with Bennett after the allegation had been received. “It’s out of our control though, it’s up to the school.”

Bennett has been involved with the men’s hockey team at Union since 2005, becoming coach for the 2011-12 season and onward. Bennett coached the team through their 2013-14 season, where they won their first national title against Minnesota with a score of 7-4. According to Union College’s Form 990-N from 2019, Bennett’s 12 months of pay totaled to $289,459. Under Bennett, the Dutchmen’s record has totaled to 186–122–42 over the years.

This story will be added to as more details come forward regarding the investigation.