The future of suspended University of Wisconsin men’s hockey player Nic Kerdiles gained some clarity Saturday.
A day after the NCAA reduced a year-long suspension for Kerdiles to 10 games, a key figure in the saga weighed in to say Kerdiles plans to stay in school and play for the Badgers this season.
David McNab is the senior vice president for operations for the Anaheim Ducks, the NHL club that selected Kerdiles in the second round of the 2012 entry draft.
McNab, a former UW goaltender, said Saturday he’s been in constant contact with the Kerdiles family throughout the NCAA probe and spoke with the freshman left winger after the suspension reduction was announced Friday.
“I know what Nic’s choice is. Nic’s choice is obviously to stay at Wisconsin,” McNab said. “Our choice is that he stays at Wisconsin.”
Attempts to reach Kerdiles and UW coach Mike Eaves for confirmation were unsuccessful.
The NCAA suspended Kerdiles for a year Oct. 5 for unspecified violations of its code of amateurism. The school appealed to the NCAA reinstatement committee on Thursday.
A statement from UW regarding the 10-game suspension said Kerdiles, from Irvine, Calif., was weighing his options. Among them was to leave school and join a Major Junior team in the Canadian Hockey League.
McNab said Kerdiles preferred to continue his education.
Kerdiles missed the season-opening series with Northern Michigan Oct. 12 and 13. He’s eligible to play for UW when it travels to Denver for a Western Collegiate Hockey Association series Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
“At the end of the day, it’s four more weeks and Nic can get by this,” McNab said. “He can now practice in a different frame of mind.
“The last little while he was practicing, but not really (as) a member of the team. He was a member of the team, but he didn’t really know (his fate). Now he can just move on.”
UW officials have not revealed details of the case against Kerdiles. McNab declined to provide specifics other than to say he was first made aware of the NCAA investigation in mid-August.
The involvement of a sports agent, Toronto-based Ian Pulver, is at the heart of the matter, according to multiple sources. What began with questions triggered by social media — pictures on a Twitter account linked to Pulver’s agency that showed Kerdiles at dinner and mingling with signed clients — progressed to concerns about a hotel reservation made by Pulver on behalf of Kerdiles’ family in conjunction with the NHL draft in Pittsburgh last June.
NCAA rules allow student-athletes to have agents as informal, unpaid family advisors, but the agents can’t negotiate contracts, cover expenses, provide gifts or market a prospect.
Eaves said multiple times Kerdiles has handled the situation as well as could be expected.
McNab took the assessment a step further, saying Kerdiles, his family, the school and NCAA all have handled the situation in a professional manner.