Back stabbing. Revenge. Personal vendettas. Power abuse. Outraged citizens. Angry Mobs. This week’s episode of Game of Thrones? NO. This is my hometown of Andover, Massachusetts, after the news involving our popular hockey coach Chris Kuchar. The man turned around a struggling program but was let go after one of the most successful seasons in history—even though the team and coach won numerous awards and accolades. And parents, fans, players, and alumni are outraged. The man responsible for the move is Andover Schools’ Superintendent Shelley Berman. And he has earned a long stay in Beav's Penalty Box.
To understand the frustration here, you must look at the history between the school and Kuchar. In 2017-18, a parent came forward with false abuse accusations against the coach. Although he was cleared by an independent investigation, he lost his full-time job at a bank. More importantly however, it came out that a 2016 letter by Berman circulated in which he urged the removal of Coach Kuchar, because Berman’s son didn’t get enough playing time. This past season, Kuchar took a young team with very few seniors to heights not seen in years. And Berman fired him.
I am a product of both the Andover school system and sports teams. Coaches are vital educators and some of the best lessons I have learned are from coaches. Chris Kuchar fits this moniker to a tee. His kids did charity appearances, worked with kids, and excelled in school. He is a game changer. He cared about these kids and their families. He won on and off the ice. And he was fired. Why? One man.
Revenge is best served cold is an old saying. I guess ice is cold. I have talked to many parents, kids, and members of the media since this was announced last Monday. Not one person has given me a legitimate reason for this move. I would welcome one. But when your coach wins on and off the field and is let go by a boss who tried to fire him three years ago, you don’t have to be Inspector Clouseau to figure out why. Using your title and power to take out a good man is a good way to earn a stay in Beav's Penalty Box. For using his job to hurt a great man, good kids, and great families, Andover Superintendent of Schools Shelley Berman has a LONG stay in Beav's Penalty Box.