|Flashes from Gordon: Bringing Mingo back may not be the right decision (06-18-14)|
|Written by KEVIN GORDON, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Wednesday, 18 June 2014 08:18|
TOUGH CALL: Dajon Mingo is returning to the Bowling Green Falcon hockey team this fall.
We're not sure it's the right decision, but it's a decision we're glad we didn't have to make.
The redshirt junior was ineligible for the second half of last season, the third major academic strike against him.
Head coach Chris Bergeron, and assistant coaches Barry Schutte and Ty Eigner would have been well justified in kicking Mingo off the team when he became ineligible in December.
Instead, they gave Mingo his fourth chance and he regained his eligibility during the spring semester. But will it last?
We understand coaches don't want to turn their backs on their players and we know Mingo was a high-risk recruit academically before he came to BG.
We don't have a problem with teams occasionally recruiting players like Mingo. But at some point, teams have to cut their losses and move on.
Mingo - a good guy with an infectious smile - skates well and is gifted offensively. He can help the team, whether he plays forward or defense. This season, he'll play full-time on defense where BG desperately needs offensive production.
Mingo hasn't shown if he can be physical enough or reliable enough defensively over a full season, but his offense may outweigh any defensive shortcomings.
One can only hope Mingo has finally made the decision to commit to his academics. One can only hope any misstep - even one missed class, one missed assignment or a D or an F on any assignment - will end Mingo's BG career.
Bergeron admitted last season Mingo's academics were a distraction and added the team needs to "control distractions better than we have this year."
What better way to deal with a distraction than to eliminate it? Hopefully, Mingo won't make the coaches regret their decision.
Mingo's coaches, teammates and the Falcon program deserve far better than what he's given them on and off the ice so far.
RALFS: Speaking of distractions, we hope junior defenseman Ralfs Freibergs has played his last game at BG.
Freibergs failed a drug test while playing for Latvia during the Olympics in February.
The NCAA allowed him to retain his eligibility, but the International Ice Hockey Federation provisionally suspended Freibergs to prevent him from playing in the World Championships last month.
The IIHF is reviewing Freibergs' case, which means he's appealing.
If the IIHF rejects Freibergs' appeal, it likely will suspend him for a long period. And IIHF suspensions for failed drug tests aren't measured in games. Usually, they're for months or years.
One of Freibergs' Latvian teammates received an 18-month suspension for failing a drug test during the same Olympics.
It isn't known if the NCAA would honor an IIHF suspension, but it's hard to believe it wouldn't.
Freibergs is a good guy who appears to have made a mistake. Even if he is cleared and reinstated by the IIHF, questions about the original drug test will always follow him.
The situation has been an embarrassment for the Falcon program, the athletics department and the university.
It would be best for the Falcons and Freibergs to agree to end their relationship.
Freibergs is gifted offensively and his skills would be missed, especially on the power play. But his offensive production can be offset by his defensive liabilities.
Perhaps Freibergs can sign a pro contract, although his options are limited.
Rumors of Freibergs turning pro started last season, so it wouldn't come as a major surprise if he left before next season. The undrafted free agent will attend the prospects camp of the NHL's Philadelphia Flyers later this summer.
CHAMPION: Former Falcon Louis Maas recently won an East Coast Hockey League championship as an assistant coach with the Alaska Aces.
The Anchorage, Alaska native was a defensive defenseman, physical presence, team leader and all-around good guy at BG from 1997-2001.
Maas also was an outstanding shot blocker before shot blocking became a major part of the sport.
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