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Developing: Confrontation in visitor's locker room at yesterday's game at Yost

BY NICOLE AUERBACH AND COURTNEY RATKOWIAK
Daily Sports Editor and Managing Editor
Published January 25, 2009

Update: Click here for the story that ran in Monday's print edition.

The Michigan Daily is working on a developing story about an incident that occurred in the Michigan State locker room following last night's game at Yost Ice Arena.

Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Diane Brown said that the incident followed an ejection from the game. The player ejected from yesterday's game — which, according to the box score, was Spartan forward Corey Tropp — was in the visitor's locker room and a 48-year-old man from Jackson, Mich. went in and confronted him.

"We had a parent come crashing into the locker room and fight my player," Michigan State coach Rick Comley told the State News.

According to multiple sources close to the situation, the man was taken to the Yost offices behind the skate rental booth for DPS questioning.

“I heard him tell the officer that he did grab Tropp by the jersey, and they were also holding each other and yelling at each other,” a person in the room during the questioning, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak to the press on the matter, said.

With less than a minute left in Michigan's 5-3 win over Michigan State, Michigan junior defenseman Steve Kampfer delivered a hard, clean hit on Tropp mid-ice. In retaliation — and frustration over the impending fifth Michigan win of the season — forward Andrew Conboy checked Kampfer from behind into the boards. As Kampfer fell headfirst onto the ice, it appeared that Tropp slashed Kampfer in the head and neck region.

"Hopefully, Kampfer is fine," Comley said after the game. "I apologize for it on behalf of one of our players. I thought it was cheap and uncalled for and I'll deal with it."

While Kampfer was laying facedown on the ice, teammate Tim Miller entered the scrum to take on Conboy. Other Wolverines entered the fray, but players seemed more concerned about Kampfer.

Referees escorted a frustrated Miller off the ice during postgame handshakes.

Tropp received a five-minute major for slashing, two 10-minute misconducts and a double game-disqualification, which means a minimum three-game suspension. Conboy only was assessed a double minor penalty for roughing.

Michigan sophomore defenseman Chad Langlais and freshman forward David Wohlberg helped carry Kampfer off the ice. About a half hour after the game, Kampfer was carried out of the locker room on a stretcher and still wearing his game jersey.

Michigan officials said that Kampfer was released Sunday from the hospital and he was taken to the hospital as a precaution.

“I have a strained neck right now,” Kampfer said in a phone interview with the Detroit Free Press Sunday. “I had no relapse of what happened earlier. Hopefully, I’ll be back this weekend.”

Kampfer suffered a fractured skull in an off-ice incident on Oct. 12 and was in a neck brace until Nov. 19. He returned to game action at the Great Lakes Invitational on Dec. 27.

Brown said that nobody was hurt or injured in the locker room incident.

After the confrontation, DPS met with all the parties involved and read the man a trespass warning. They then escorted him out of the building.

Brown said that DPS will finish the investigation and the case will then go to the Washtenaw County Prosecutor's Office. The prosecutor will decide whether or not to file assault charges.

Check back for more information and eyewitness accounts throughout the day on www.michigandaily.com and in tomorrow's print edition.

— Senior News Editor Trevor Calero, Daily Sports Writer Gjon Juncaj and Managing News Editor Jacob Smilovitz contributed to this report.