ANDOVER (CBS) – Andover High School Boys Varsity Hockey Coach Chris Kuchar says it felt “like Christmas” to be back on the ice with the his team, after he was cleared of any wrongdoing following a three-week suspension.
“Those people that supported me, they know who I am and the type of person I am,” Kuchar told WBZ-TV.
Kuchar and two assistant coaches were cleared of any wrongdoing by the state Department of Children and Families following allegations that he mistreated players, and deprived players of food and water as punishment for poor performances.
Multiple sources told WBZ-TV at the time that disgruntled parents contacted DCF even after the team was provided boxed lunches and Cliff bars on the way back from the game against Pope Francis.
On Tuesday, the high school also cleared the coaches of any wrongdoing.
“When somebody says you did something that you didn’t do, it’s indescribable. You can’t comprehend what’s going on,” said assistant coach Steve Belmonte. “The fact it was an anonymous call makes it even worse.”
At their first practice back on the ice, it was a group hug and brand new energy for the team that felt the loss.
“A lot of guys stepped up to help us, the team hung out a lot together and bonded. We’ve kind of pushed through it,” said player Mike Reilly.
Kuchar says it was difficult not being able to contact his players during the three weeks.
“I’m so happy to be back. I wasn’t able to be in contact with them the entire time, so it was like missing your kids for three weeks… it was just satisfying. I had a tear in my eye,” Kuchar said.
They want the focus back on the ice, as they prepare for an upcoming tournament they hope will get them to the state championship.