Canucks prospect removed from Harvard University team amid academic scandal

Harvard University Defenseman Patrick McNally, a fourth-round draft pick of the Vancouver Canucks in 2010, has left the ice hockey team and will not return this season amid reports of an academic scandal.

The 21-year-old McNally, along with teammates Max Everson and Mark Luzar, were all removed from the Harvard roster last week with no hopes of returning this season. Stephen Michalek left the program last month.The Vancouver Canucks released a brief statement regarding McNally, who had three points in eight games this season with Harvard:

“We can confirm that Patrick McNally is no longer on the 2012-13 Harvard men’s hockey roster and is taking a leave of absence from the university,” assistant general manager Laurence Gilman said Tuesday. “We cannot speculate on the duration of the absence and will not comment further on the nature of his leave at this time.”The Crimson, Harvard University’s student newspaper, reported that the removals may be linked to an academic scandal that rocked the university this past summer. In August, Harvard University launched an investigation into students who were enrolled in a government class and allegedly plagiarized answers or inappropriately collaborated on the class’s final take-home exam.

As it stands now, the players removed from the team amid the scandal will be able to re-join the team next season. McNally has a few options to continue playing hockey this year, although if he were to sign a pro contract he would lose his collegiate eligibility and would not be able to return to Harvard next season.

One option involves joining the United States Hockey League, if a team were to possess interest in McNally. Michalek, who was removed from Harvard last month, recently joined the Cedar Rapids Roughriders of the USHL.

Vancouver Canucks general manager Mike Gillis stated that the team has been on contact with McNally over the scandal, although they would not provide any further detail.

“He’s in somewhat regular contact with all our players and it’s no different in Patrick’s case,” Gilman said, referring to Dave Gagner, the team’s director of player development. “We did know about Patrick’s circumstances in advance of it becoming known to the public.”

Gillis spoke highly of McNally after drafting him 115th overall in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

“He’s going to go to Harvard and is a bright young guy and his father is an FBI agent,” Gillis said at the time. “He’s an offensive, skating defenceman and we think he’s got a tremendous amount of potential.”

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