Monday, March 27, 2006

Players Upset About Fridgen "Resignation"!

TROY - "RPI hockey always has and always will be a family," junior winger Kevin Broad said Tuesday. "Seeing one of your family members leave is never easy."Broad summed up the feelings of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute players Tuesday afternoon, hours after they learned Dan Fridgen had resigned as their head coach."This is not the lasting impression this senior class wanted to leave on the program, being the last one to be coached by coach Fridgen," said senior tri-captain Kevin Croxton, the team's leading scorer."It's tough," Croxton said. "It happened so quickly, we haven't had much time to think about it. It hasn't really sunk in yet. "And it's tough, someone you've been around with (so long). I've known him for six years because they recruited me for a couple years. He was very good to me."The players learned of the decision that the Institute would not offer Fridgen - who spent 12 years as the head coach and five as an assistant to Buddy Powers - an extension of his contract and his subsequent resignation early in the morning. "Our captains told us (Monday) night to come in a 7 a.m.," Broad said. "Coach came in and told us. It says a lot about the kind of man he is, how he came in and told us himself rather than letting somebody else do it. "You never know what's coming," Broad said, "we've been here at 7 a.m. before."Broad said Fridgen was somewhat emotional but wished each player the best."It was tough for him," Broad said. "Being with a program for 17 years, knowing that it was the last time he was going to address us, it was tough."Right winger Kirk MacDonald missed the entire season, battling testicular cancer and recuperating from several related surgeries.Fridgen housed MacDonald for weeks after he was diagnosed last spring. "Coach did a lot of great things for me," MacDonald said. "He helped me out since I got here. Last year taken me into his house for a month at the end of the year. I'll always be thankful for that, all the things he and his family did for me. I can't say enough about that. "It's always tough when you see this kind of thing happen," MacDonald added."It was sad to see him go," said junior defenseman Ryan Swanson. "I had a good relationship with him the whole three years I've been here. I got really close to him."Swanson pledged that whomever RPI hires to replace Fridgen, the players "will support him right off the bat."Broad said he "has a lot of respect for coach Fridgen. "Coach was a player's coach. He treated you like he was one of you own. He always had an open-door policy. If something was bothering you, you'd just go in and see him, whether it was hockey, classes, whatever. Not a lot of coaches will do that for you. Going back to what he did for Mac ... he's just a great person."Fridgen often was too protective of his players when it came to critiques because he felt, regardless of how expensive was the education they were receiving for free, they were amateurs.Broad says those who suggest he was soft on them are dead wrong."No, that wasn't the case," he said. "He held everybody accountable. He was a hard-nosed coach. He coached like he played."He expected nothing but the best out of players," Broad said. "That's what he asked for an I'd like to think that's what we gave him."It's an unfortunate situation and we wish the best for him."

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