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UPEI coach defends team's actions after U of A skates off without handshake

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CHARLOTTETOWN -

The University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI) coach is defending the team’s actions, after the University of Alberta (U of A) team skated off the ice without handshakes at the U Sports Men’s Hockey National Championship in Charlottetown.

The crowd booed and hurled trash as the U of A’s team left the ice after defeating UPEI in the semifinals Saturday night.

During the third period, the teams got into an on-ice fight following a hard hit against U of A’s goalie.

Speaking to reporters, University of Alberta’s head coach Ian Herbers said he made the decision to not take part in the traditional handshake for safety reasons.

“Didn’t feel safe for our players. I thought something else would happen and then get into a bigger incident, and then create bigger havoc, and then be a big black eye for our league, so I didn’t want that opportunity to happen,” said Herbers. “I felt it was safer for our players and better for the league not to get into a situation like that.”

Someone in the crowd hurled a beer can at the U of A team as they left the ice.

Some players on UPEI’s team said the choice to shake hands was disrespectful.

“Honestly it’s kind of classless. Yeah it was a rough game, but it’s hockey,” said UPEI player Kaleb Pearson. “Some of the plays, yeah, they shouldn’t have happened, but come on, at least you can shake our hands."

University of Prince Edward Island’s head coach Forbes MacPherson defended his team’s behaviour on the ice.

“There was one incident that happened with 14 minutes left in the game,” said MacPherson. “Nothing else happened after.”

MacPherson said that the incident on the ice isn’t representative of the team’s behaviour.

“At no point was there multiple incidents. There was one incident,” said MacPherson. “All year there was only one team in our conference that had less penalty minutes than us.”

Sunday’s bronze medal game began with a reminder that abuse against players, staff, and officials would not be tolerated.

For full coverage of Prince Edward Island news, visit our dedicated page.

Correction

This article corrects the spelling of Kaleb Pearson's name.

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