Michigan State sophomore defenseman A.J. Thelen has been dismissed from the hockey team, MSU head coach Rick Comley announced Sunday. Thelen's scholarship will still be honored as long as he remains in school and is academically eligible.
"A.J. 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 hockey career."
Thelen, a first-round draft pick of the Minnesota Wild last June, appeared in 33 games this season, posting 11 assists to rank second among the blueliners in scoring. In 74 career games, he totaled 11 goals and 29 assists for 40 points and 98 penalty minutes.
"I feel the coach has double standards for certain players," Thelen told the Minnesota Star Tribune. "I definitely was confident in my schooling and academics was not a problem. I've been eligible all season and would have been next season. He's set in his ways. I tried to work with him and he tried to work with me and it didn't work out."
Thelen's options next year are playing major junior hockey in the Western Hockey League or signing with the Wild and playing in their system.