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.