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‘No allegations or indication of anything beyond inappropriate texts’ found after four-month investigation leads to University of Vermont firing men’s hockey coach Todd Woodcroft

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Photo credit:University of Vermont
Zach Laing
8 months ago
Further information surrounding a University of Vermont investigation into former men’s hockey team head coach Todd Woodcroft — and what happened since — came to light on Wednesday.
A day after news broke from the university that Woodcroft had been fired following “inappropriate text messages with a UVM student,” the school’s director of athletics defended the school’s actions while affirming there were “no allegations or indication of anything” beyond messages with one student.
“The complaint was only about inappropriate text messages,” Jeff Schulman said, via the Burlington Free Press. “And I guess I do want to just be really clear that there was no allegations or indication of anything beyond inappropriate text messages.”
The formal complaint into the messages, filed on March 16th, kicked off a four-month investigation culminating in Woodcroft’s dismissal Tuesday. Woodcroft, 50, is the older brother of Edmonton Oilers head coach Jay.
Edmonton Oilers prospects Luca Munzenberger, a defenceman drafted in the third-round of the 2021 draft, and center Joel Maatta, a 2022 seventh-round pick, play for the Vermont men’s hockey team.
Woodcroft wasn’t placed on leave as the investigation took place, but was asked to work away from the campus and “not to have any contact with any of the students who were involved,” Schulman said.
According to The Athletic’s Katie Strang, Woodcroft attended the Florida Panthers’ development camp last week in a guest coaching capacity. In a statement, the Panthers told The Athletic they first learned of the investigation into Woodcroft when news of his firing was made public Tuesday.
Andrew Miltenberg, Woodcroft’s attorney, said in a statement Tuesday the investigation “lacked fundamental fairness and due process” and was “contrary to the facts and the law.”
“We vehemently disagree with the process and the findings of a proceeding that lacked fundamental fairness and due process,” Miltenberg said in the statement. “We strongly believe the University’s decision was contrary to the facts and the law.
“We intend to pursue justice for Mr. Woodcroft, who has been an outstanding coach and community advocate for over two decades.”
The investigation was conducted by the university’s Office of Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity, which provides “thorough and impartial investigations of complaints of discrimination and harassment.” They work separately from the school’s athletic department.
On Wednesday, Schulman defended the school’s investigation.
“I read (Woodcroft’s) attorney’s comments,” Schulman said via the Burlington Free Press. “Again, I feel very confident in the university’s process, that it was thorough, that it was fair, that Todd was afforded due process throughout. And again, when the final report came to me I was comfortable that the findings were substantiated and I was able to act on that information with a high level of confidence.”
The Burlington Free Press reported that when Woodcroft was hired in 2020, he signed a five-year contract and had a base pay of $286,855 last season, citing school records.
Woodcroft previously worked in the NHL as an assistant coach with the Winnipeg Jets, while also holding other coaching and scouting roles with the Calgary Flames, LA Kings, Washington Capitals and Minnesota Wild dating back to 2000. He’s worked with Sweden’s World Junior team in coaching capacities in each of the last two tournaments.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@oilersnation.com.

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