This is straight from the you can’t make this stuff up department.

We have confirmed that Stockton University Men’s Ice Hockey Head Coach Alan Rhoads has been officially banned from being on the premises of The Atlantic City, New Jersey Skate Zone facility.

I have had the opportunity to get to know Rhoads. You would be hard pressed to find a more professional and polished individual.

As bizarre as this is going to sound … Rhoads’ banishment from the Atlantic City Skate Zone is because he attended a meeting in a room within the facility that was allegedly outside of the boundaries of Stockton University’s contract agreement.

No other person who attended the same meeting is banned from the Atlantic City Skate Zone.

Rhoads is not allowed to attend Stockton practices or games. He is not allowed to enter the Atlantic City Skate Zone.

The Stockton University Men’s Ice Hockey Team utilizes the Atlantic City Skate Zone for practice and home games.

The entire Stockton ice hockey season was at risk earlier this year when the Skate Zone and the City of Atlantic City refused to sign the ice rink agreement in a timely manner.

After missing the early part of the season, the agreement was signed just one day before Stockton University would have had to forfeit their entire season.

The Stockton University Men’s Ice Hockey Team was off to a great 5-2 start for the season.

Conversely, since Rhodes’ banishment, Stockton’s record is 2-5.

Stockton University Associate Athletic Director Jeff Haines was given the unenviable task of delivering the unpleasant news to Rhoads.

Haines has been incredibly supportive of the Stockton ice hockey program.

I interviewed Rhoads yesterday. He raised some very fair points about this questionable action and he covered beyond the scope of his banishment in our wide ranging discussion.

"There were at least five other people in the room when the 18 year old, highly qualified and experienced manager of the Atlantic City Skatezone, Sam D'Amore, who just so happens to be some kind of family relative of the mayor, threatened to call the police on us for simply meeting to discuss the long term plans for our incredibly resilient ice rink community,” said Rhoads.

Further, Rhoads raised these questions:

  • Why was I (Rhoads) the only one permanently banned from the municipal, public ice rink?
  • Not that this should ever happen, but why was my employer the only one who was ever emailed or called?
  • Who sent the email and what did it say? Why is the City Clerk late in providing these public communications through the form of an OPRA and Common Law request?
  • What are the long term plans for our ice rink community?
  • Will the $15 million dollar Civic Center that DEEM has promised to build, include an ice rink? If so, where will it be located? Who will own and who will operate it?
  • With looming northern New Jersey and New York City casinos on the horizon, are these plans optimal for our ice rink community and southern New Jersey economy?

It remains to be seen if DEEM can even get their proposed project to the finish line, however, Rhoads has raised a bunch of important questions that deserve answers.

Here is a photograph (below) of the meeting room in question. It is a wide open room that is available to the public.

Alan Rhoads photo.
Alan Rhoads photo.

How could holding a meeting in this open interior Skate Zone space constitute banning a University Head Coach from attending team practices and games?

This is a totally bogus banishment.

The above photograph was taken on Saturday, October 28, 2023 after this frivolous so-called incident occurred.

Stockton University’s next home game is after Thanksgiving break, on Friday, December 1, 2023 vs. York College (a non league opponent) at 7:00 p.m.

Stockton has 9 regular season games left in their season their season.

However, Stockton has been without their head coach since Wednesday, October 25, 2023, when Rhoads was advised by his associate athletic director that he he is not permitted to be at the rink for either games or team practices.

The team has suffered since then.

Just like I did a few months ago in writing, I am urging Atlantic City Mayor Marty Small to do the right thing and end this unjust ban against Alan Rhoads.

Small did the right thing at the “12th hour” and saved Stockton’s season.

It is my hope that Small will step-up big, again this time. The students deserve to have their head coach back.

Mayor Small, please do the right thing. Holding a meeting in an open space within the Atlantic City Skate Zone should not have led to Rhoads being banned from the premises.

Small is a hall of fame athlete. He knows exactly how important a head coach is to the team.

With just one phone call, Small can fix this unfortunate situation.

The time is now. Give this hard-working, now 7-7 team the opportunity to return to their winning ways.

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