In a move that safeguards the league from resembling the LNAH, the USHL on Thursday suspended Sioux Falls forward Corey Tropp for two games. The decision gives the league time to formally evaluate Tropp's actions from last weekend's Michigan State/Michigan contest before officially granting the former Stampede forward a return to the club.
"We are as concerned as everyone in the hockey community that the on-ice actions of Mr. Tropp be recognized as fundamentally unacceptable to the game of hockey at any level," said Commissioner Skip Prince. "We have spoken with officials at both the CCHA and Michigan State to understand better the circumstances of the incident in Ann Arbor last Saturday evening. We believe it is only fair to meet with Mr. Tropp as well. Given the timing of this matter, that hearing will not occur until after this weekend's USHL schedule has been completed. The determination as to what further sanctions, if any, are appropriate will be concluded prior to the re-commencement of the USHL season after our All-Star break." Prince further noted, "We note that this is a case of first impression for the USHL – that is, we've not had to address the question of a player joining our league following a suspension at the NCAA level. There is nothing in our rules or regulations regarding the matter, so was both well within the rights of the Sioux Falls Stampede, and appropriate, for them to add Mr. Tropp to their roster pending the League's decision as to appropriate suspension. We're all trying to do the right thing here."SabresProspects respects the league process, and fully expects Tropp to be cleared given his previous record. Upon his return to Sioux Falls, Tropp spoke with Matt Zimmer of the Argus Leader about what transpired and what the future may bring for the Sabres third-round pick in 2007.
AL: Did you consider dropping out of school? CT: No, absolutely not. I weighed certain options, I just felt like coming back here and doing that whole deal would be more beneficial than trying something else. AL: I would think this is a good situation for you. You’re familiar with this team, and Coach Hartzell and (CEO Gary Weckwerth) and you know the people around here. Are you looking forward to getting into a hopefully comfortable situation? CT: Oh, yeah, definitely. I hope everything works out. AL: Are you worried about how people will react to this? People booing you or having a problem with you being on the ice? CT: You know, everyone can have their opinion. You know yourself best, you can’t really worry about what other people think. Obviously there will be quite a spotlight, watching over me making sure I’m doing things right. I’ve just got to make sure I’m doing things right so that people who don’t like me right now can look back and say, ‘Maybe he’s not that bad.’ AL: Will it affect the way you play hockey? People could be taking cheap shots at you to try to get you to retaliate. Do you have to be careful about dropping the gloves or throwing an elbow? CT: Ah, I’m not too worried about that. I’m pretty confident there’s a time and a place for things that are going to take place. I made one mistake, hopefully I’m going to learn from that and go forward. In a couple years from now maybe I’ll look at it as a bump in the road. AL: Are you confident you can concentrate on hockey? Will this be a distraction for you on the ice? CT: I’m pretty confident with myself. Pretty much everyone in hockey goes through some kind of difficulty. Life’s not always easy. I think getting back on the ice will be the best thing for me. AL: Do you want to go back to Michigan State next year? CT: Oh yeah. The plan right now is we’ll sit down and talk at the end of the season. They have to make a decision and I’ll have to make a decision on what I think’s best for me. AL: You still have a bright future. You’re a third-round NHL draft pick. Are you still confident you career can get to where you wanted it to be all along? CT: Absolutely. I don’t have any doubt in my mind. The only one that can control that is me. You can’t let other people not let you do what you want to do. If you work hard enough, I’m pretty confident in myself. Hopefully one day I’ll have an opportunity to keep moving up in hockey.