In documents obtained via FOIA request by one of our readers, Tech Hockey Guide was able to review, it is clear that Mel Pearson was behind the decision to cancel the game vs Western Michigan and did not want to play Michigan Tech either. Ultimately the official decision was relayed by Josh Richelew, Sport Administrator at the University of Michigan.
Per our previous discussion, I highly recommend we consider the cancellation of our upcoming games versus Michigan Technological University and Western Michigan University.
As early as this summer we discussed the merits of hosting two games over the holiday break and my concerns in doing so. As it stands today, we will be missing 9 of our 26 available skaters because of injury, heightened COVID concerns or the World Junior Championship. This results in less than the full allowable complement of players we are able to dress for a contest.
With two weeks off and only three days to prepare, the uncertainty of COVID, raised mental health concerns, the increased risk for potential injuries and the current challenges with international travel, we are putting a tremendous burden on the health and safety of our limited roster of student athletes. Because of this, these scheduled contests are a growing cause for concern.
Thank you for considering this matter in question.—Mel Pearson to Josh Richelew via email on 12/17/21—
Regardless of what Mel Pearson has said publicly, complaining about statements made by Adam Wodon and others that this decision was not made by him and they wanted to play, this email makes clear that Pearson was searching for excuses to not play either game.
Ultimately a “full” lineup of 18 skaters played versus Michigan Tech on December 29, 2021 which made all these concerns even more confusing. While Michigan didn’t dress an extra skater as allowed, they had more than enough players to play WMU on 12/30 and I’m sure all the players involved in the game against MTU would have loved the chance to play a second game that week. Michigan themselves even tweeted out an extremely odd statement about a “next man up mentality.”
Coach Pearson didn’t want to play games without his golden boys at the World Juniors. After watching Michigan play Minnesota last Saturday, I understand why. They struggled to control most of the game but a few moments of brilliance. Brisson, Beniers, and Powers were the difference in the game where they were outshot 40-19. There is no other way to look at this, Coach Pearson hid behind the “wellbeing and safety of our student athletes” as a way to avoid games because of pairwise implications and perception of his team.