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Disciplined hockey players among 13-15 drinking before semifinal, sources say

The three Boston University men’s hockey players recently suspended or dismissed from the team were not alone in a St. Patrick’s Day drinking incident, according to multiple sources who are close to the team, many of whom were with the players that night.

Sources said the threesome was among 13-15 BU hockey players &-&- including multiple freshmen and a current team captain &-&- who were drinking at a bar near BU’s West Campus at about 1 a.m. on March 18.

The team saw its season end March 19 in a 5-2 loss to the University of Maine at the TD Garden in the Hockey East semifinals.

Team rules state that, in-season, players are only permitted to drink on Saturday nights.

On Tuesday, the team announced the dismissal of junior Victor Saponari and his brother, sophomore Vinny Saponari, as well as the suspension of sophomore Corey Trivino for an undisclosed amount of games to open the 2010-11 season.

“Over a period of time, there have been cumulative instances in which Victor and Vinny Saponari have displayed conduct unbecoming of a Boston University hockey player,” BU coach Jack Parker said in a press release. “In a related issue, Trivino will be suspended for the early part of next season.”

Sources said when Parker heard about the St. Patrick’s Day incident, he put into place mandatory punishment bike rides for the team, which took place on either Saturday or Sunday mornings each weekend until April 24.

At the first bike ride, Parker told the team, “If you miss [a bike ride], don’t bother coming back because you’re off the team,” according to multiple sources.

At one of the bike rides, a player showed up about three minutes late and was forced to do extra riding.

Then, at the last bike ride, Vinny Saponari and Trivino showed up very late, essentially arriving as the team was finishing its ride. The players were told not to ride and were suspended from team workouts immediately.

The press release announcing the dismissal and suspension came about a week and a half after the incident.

Sources said Victor Saponari was released from the team by Parker on April 22, while The Daily Free Press reported Tuesday that Vinny Saponari was not informed of his dismissal until Tuesday morning.

Additionally, sources confirmed that another player will be suspended at some point next season for a separate incident that occurred earlier in the 2009-10 season.

When asked for comment, the team said it stood by what was said in Tuesday’s press release and that the Saponari dismissals were for multiple infractions.

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