Team releases 6 players for beating up their coach

Six Slovenian ice hockey players who beat up their American

coach after winning a league title were released by the team

Thursday.

Mike Posma, a former American Hockey League player who took over

as coach last year, was beaten up by his players Saturday following

Acroni Jesenice’s celebrations for winning the title. The

42-year-old New Jersey native was cut and bruised but not seriously

injured.

The team denounced the incident Thursday and announced the end

of the players’ contracts. Club president Slavko Kanalec said the

team was “shocked” and “strongly condemns” the incident.

The team said it also suspended further contract talks with

Posma, who reportedly left Slovenia for the United States earlier

Thursday.

Slovenian media say that both the six players and Posma were

drunk while celebrating the team’s third consecutive national

league title.

The six players were reportedly angry at Posma because he

allegedly told a 19-year-old backup goaltender to drive a car –

even though he knew the man was drunk. The goaltender subsequently

crashed the car.

The six then turned on the coach, reportedly beating him with

wooden traffic signs that they found by the side of the road.

Earlier this week, five of the six players denied that they

attacked Posma, claiming they attempted to convince the coach to go

to the police and take the blame for the goaltender’s accident.

The Slovenian public and team’s fans warmly welcomed Posma when

he took over as coach last November. He had previously coached

rival Olimpija Ljubljana.

On Friday, Acroni Jesenice beat Olimpija to win its eighth

Slovenian league title since the country’s independence in 1991.

Olimpija has won 11.

Posma played defense for the Utica Devils in the 1990-91 AHL

season and later spent several seasons playing professional hockey

in Switzerland and Germany.