Sneddon Lawsuit Over

The UVM men’s hockey program received national attention this past August, however it was not for their performance in the Gutterson rink.

The media coverage that the varsity program received this summer was a follow up from a previous scandal that originated in 2011 when former Catamount Justin Milo of Edina, MN filed a lawsuit against head coach Kevin Sneddon.

Milo, who transferred to Vermont in 2008 from Cornell University, claimed that Sneddon wrongly cut him from the men’s hockey varsity team in 2010.

Milo sought out $75,000 in damages in the lawsuit, saying that because of his abrupt termination from the team he lost thousands of dollars in financial aid.

Problems began to arise publicly in the middle of the 2009-2010 season when Milo was benched and listed as a “healthy scratch, coach’s decision” for a game against St. Lawrence University in December.

In a later game that week against Merrimack College Milo’s absence was seen again, which caused the rise of speculation that something was going on behind the scenes for UVM hockey.

In a press conference made following Milo’s initial termination from the team back in 2010 Sneddon said, “We just felt it was in the best interest of the program to move forward without him. We certainly wish him the best in all his future endeavors, but we felt this decision was in the best interest of the program as we move forward with the rest of the season.”

During interviews with Channel Three Sports at the time, Milo expressed shock in the impromptu decision due to the fact that at the time of his termination from the team he was Vermont’s second leading point scorer.

“I don’t know really what to think or how to feel right now,” Milo said. “I’m kind of in shock. The season’s been kind of a roller coaster for the team and for me.”

In his lawsuit, Milo also stated that he never had any problems with academics, the legal system or his personal conduct while attending UVM.

Milo continued to say in his lawsuit that he was not notified of his right to appeal the decision, which he claimed deprived him of his scholarship, and harmed his reputation and the future of his hockey career.

However, following Milo’s dismissal from the Catamounts, he played for the Alaska Aces, which is a part of the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) and the South Carolina Stingrays which are also a part of the ECHL in the 2010-2011 season. Milo was then picked up by the Gwinnett Gladiators in January of 2010.

“Milo had never been called into Defendant Sneddon’s office to discuss any perceived problems with Milo’s commitment to the team, his focus, his attitude or any other issue,” Milo’s lawsuit alleged.

In 2012, the case was in the middle of its second year and still unable to reach a decision in the federal court of Vermont.

This past June, judge William K. Sessions, who was overseeing the case decided against Milo, stating furthermore that in his opinion “Sneddon had not defamed Milo in media interviews.”

“Defendants [Sneddon] characterize the decision to dismiss Milo as based on a culmination of incidents in which Milo demonstrated a total and unapologetic disregard for team values—namely, ‘work ethic’ and ‘positive attitude,’” Sessions said in his decision.

The decision for dismissal of the lawsuit came just in time for UVM men’s hockey team’s preparation of the 2013-2014 season.

While the final court decisions regarding the lawsuit were underway, Sneddon went ahead and announced his recruiting class for the upcoming season, which displayed the fresh start that the team is looking for.

The group of newcomers includes six forwards, three defensemen and two goaltenders representing four different U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.