MIDDLEBURY - James "Jak" Knelman, a junior winger on the Middlebury College hockey team for two seasons, is suing the college and its hockey coach, Bill Beaney, after being dismissed from the team in January of this year.
The lawsuit is seeking damages of $75,000 and alleges that Knelman was wrongly dismissed from the hockey team after leaving an alumni banquet shortly before the event had ended. Knelman claims, however, that he left early to spend time with his father, who was visiting for the weekend.
The suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court in Burlington on Wednesday, seeks recovery of damages and equitable relief to remedy breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, breach of fiduciary duties and defamation in conjunction with his dismissal from the team.
Knelman's lawyers claim that Coach Beaney berated Knelman in front of the entire hockey team then suspended and later removed Knelman from the team.
In a recent official statement made by the school, Middlebury College spokeswoman Sarah Ray said the college will answer the specifics of Knelman's complaint in due course.
"As with most lawsuits, there's more to the story than has been presented by one side's attorney," she stated in a released e-mail message. "Middlebury values its student-athletes, the successes they have achieved in academics and sports, and the coaches who provide their teams with leadership and support."