MSU Dismisses Thelen from Team
State defenseman A.J. Thelen, who struggled through a difficult
sophomore year after dazzling rookie season, has been dismissed
from the Spartan team. Head coach Rick Comley announced the dismissal
in a press release Sunday night.
did not meet the expectations for a student-athlete in the ice
hockey program at MSU,” said Comley. “It was in the
program’s best interest to dismiss him from the team immediately.
Despite parting at this time, I certainly wish A.J. well in his
a first-round pick of the Minnesota Wild (12th overall) in last
June's NHL Draft after a freshman season in which he was a first-team
All-CCHA and second-team All-America selection. A Savage, Minn.,
native, Thelen had 11-18—29 on the year.
As a sophomore,
however, he struggled out of the gate. After what scouts told
Inside College Hockey was a sluggish performance at USA Hockey's
National Junior Team Evaluation Camp, Thelen never seemed to live
up to his old self . He had no goals and 11 assists through 33
He was a healthy
scratch in both Michigan State games this weekend, a series sweep
of Notre Dame.
Neil Koepke of the Lansing State Journal caught up with Brian Lawton, Thelen's family advisor.
"A.J. is really disappointed and we're not happy about the situation," Lawton told Koepke. "For some reason, the MSU coaching staff was of the understanding at the start of training camp that A.J. did not want to be there. That was not true. He was battling that all year."
indicated that Thelen would retain his scholarship as long as
he was in school and academically eligible. While he cannot sign
with the Wild at the moment due to the NHL lockout, he could sign
a minor-league contract or join the major junior ranks. His WHL
rights are held by the Prince Albert Raiders.