Submitted by Brian on January 25th, 2009 at 3:56 PM

I tried not to write this post exactly like this. I waited, and tried not to go completely nuclear.

I sit four rows behind Steven Kampfer's parents. I know this because last night, when Steve Kampfer laid on the ice after being assaulted from behind by Andrew Conboy and then slashed in the head by Corey Tropp, one group of enraged Michigan fans was even more shocked than the rest of the crowd. Kampfer's mother went down to the State bench and started screaming. An usher came up to restrain her, and she cried out "that's my son." Another relative was looking around incredulously, crying, panicking, her hands waving in the air pointlessly. It's the kind of random motion you make when something has to be done and you're totally helpless. Kampfer's dad left, and I thought about following him.

Later Comley would relate that a Michigan fan broke into the locker room and tried to fight Tropp; multiple reports say it was him. I wish I, and about 200 students, had been there, too. But that's the difference between men and pigs like Conboy and Tropp: we weren't.

I thought maybe I'd be less livid after sleeping on it. I'm not. What happened last night was the most disgraceful thing I've ever seen at a sporting event, and if either of those two animals ever plays against Michigan again I'll be hoping they break their necks. That is not a kind or noble or understanding thing to say, but it's true. That was disgusting. Both should be kicked out of the CCHA, period.

Someone who should also be gone: Kevin Hall. Hall watched Conboy pull all sorts of crap, including punching Tristin Llewellyn in the face as he looked at it directly, and didn't put a stop to it. Given the opportunity to boot him off the ice with a ten minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike, he instead turned it into a minor and let Conboy loose with under a minute left. He lost control of the game. He's an idiot. He should be fired.

And let's not exonerate Comley here. He recruited Conboy and knew exactly what he was getting. Conboy's older brother was booted out of SCSU for anger management issues (side note: how big of a prick must their father be? I can only imagine) and he racked up huge penalty totals across three years of juniors. He's their leading PIM guy this year, and the announcers in the above clip euphemistically call him State's "police/enforcer," by which they mean talentless thug. During the game it became clearer and clearer that Conboy was just looking for heads to add to the wall, but Comley kept throwing him out there. Down two goals with under ten minutes on the clock, Comley went to a guy with five points on the season.

Then Comley managed to impugn a couple of Michigan players' class for talking crap to him after all this in the postgame presser. You can say whatever you want about how nice a guy he is and what an ambassador for the game he is, but that's pathetic. That's someone in denial about what happened and his role in it.

As for Tropp: a two-handed slash to the head of a prone, motionless player should be cause for ejection from the team, expulsion from school, and criminal charges. I hope the Kampfer family presses charges, and I look forward to seeing Tropp's arrest for meth addiction in my local electronic newspaper in 15 years.

Update: MVictors has frame-by-frame stuff on the incident; Yost Built also has a right-on take. On review, the Tropp thing is even more unbelievable: you can watch him cock his stick, see Kampfer is prone on the ground, and then wait for a better shot.

Update II: Impartial Wisconsin fan and former UMD announcer Bruce Ciskie at Fanhouse:

Oh, and [Tropp] slashed a player who was probably unconscious at the time. There's a special place in hockey hell for people like that.

(HT: Ace of Sports.)


big gay heart

January 25th, 2009 at 7:01 PM ^

Maybe only some of the people who play lacrosse are pussies, but but I'm not wrong on the following counts:

It's not on skates.

The sticks aren't as long and they aren't as potentially dangerous as hockey sticks due to a variety of reasons related to shape and size.

There aren't boards.

The game, intrinsically, doesn't possess the same emphasis on physicality as hockey does.

Discussion of Lacrose is peripheral at best. I was simply pointing out that Enjoy Life's analogy is utter bullshit.

Enjoy Life

January 25th, 2009 at 8:35 PM ^

Big Gay Heart, you were the one that posted "a physical sport that is played with weapons. No other sport comes close to possessing this combination."

I repeat, you posted: "No other sport comes close to possessing this combination."

I gave you two examples that meet that criteria (coming close) by any definition. Your post that I was replying to did not even mention skates.

chitownblue (not verified)

January 25th, 2009 at 9:31 PM ^

I feel like a dick participating in an extremely stupid digression, but:

1. Everywhere in the world other than the US, Field Hockey is a man's sport. I have never watched it, so I can't speak to the physicality.

2. Everything you say about lacrosse (sticks aren't as long (defense sticks are much, much longer), there are no boards (the most economically viable lacrosse league is indoors, with boards)) is plain evidence of someone who doesn't know what they're talking about. This comes from someone who spend 16 years playing lacrosse ranging from junior high school to semi-professional.


January 25th, 2009 at 7:07 PM ^

No, a hockey stick is a tool used to play hockey. It CAN be used as a weapon, but that does NOT mean it should be. Hell, a table can be used as a weapon. A garbage can could be used as a weapon. A doorknob could be used as a weapon. It doesn't mean they should be.

Hockey is a physical sport. It should NOT be violent. Violence implies recklessness with the intent to injure. I've played hockey, and you might have also. I'm sure tons of other people on here have too. You don't go hit someone to hurt them. You hit them to take them off the puck. That is physicality. That is an intrinsic part of hockey. When you start doing things with an intent to injure, that is violence. That deserves punishment, and with the severity of this case, serious punishment.


January 25th, 2009 at 7:47 PM ^

Hockey has animosity and scrums, we know this. Animosity and scrummage(?) are not what make this incident exceptional. What makes this exceptional are two (maybe 3) things: (1) The shots taken at Kampfer were cheap (2) Both cheap shots were to the head and neck (therefore, potentially career/life-ending) and (3) Kampfer's recent skull/backbone injury (though I, personally, would not argue this last point as every guy on the ice is subjecting himself to the same risks). This was no "fine line" that was crossed ... it was a fucking eight-lane highway.

We're not pissed at Spartina because she retaliated; because she lashed out like the sore loser we all know her to be. It was the manner of her so doing! Cowardly, dishonorable, shameful, disgraceful ... these characteristics of Conboy & Tropp's actions are deontological in nature. Excessive, potentially career-ending, potentially resulting in lifelong disability ... these are consequentialist in nature. So, the Michigan RAGE is well-rounded, valid, and justified from any rational perspective.


January 25th, 2009 at 4:37 PM ^

I'm gonna facebook message intimidate the shit out of him.

Seriously though, I'm still livid about this. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about him swinging at the head of a player on the ground. Such horseshit

His Dudeness

January 25th, 2009 at 4:40 PM ^

That was sinister. I am not willing to make sweeping judgements about how "all State players are garbage men", but the two players involved should be prosecuted and definately tossed out of the CCHA. That was a back alley mugging. Pathetic.

Big Boutros

January 25th, 2009 at 4:42 PM ^

...I truly believe that what Conboy and Tropp did was evil. Not just cheap, not just dirty, but evil. That's not to say that they themselves are evil people at heart, but what they did was so unconscionable that I simply don't know what other word to ascribe to it. Everyone in that building knew that Kampfer was mere weeks removed from a fractured skull, and Conboy punched him in the neck from behind like a coward; Tropp subsequently took a golf swing at his head while he was face down on the ice. What, besides pure vitriol and spite and malicious intent, crosses one's mind and convinces him to do that to another person?

Although Brian's wish that he and 200 other students had stormed the State locker room, I sincerely and desperately hope that no one attacks Conboy or Tropp, because it would be too easy for them. Physical retaliation would only mirror their disgusting behavior. I hope with all my heart that as long as they are in East Lansing, every State student, teacher, and janitor who walks past Conboy and Tropp shakes their head and looks at the ground. I hope Conboy shows up to a frat party and is sent away because he's not welcome. I hope Tropp goes into his Econ 101 class and the teacher tells him to sit in the back because she doesn't want to look at him. They deserve to be ostracized until they prove that they're human. Because no person of sound mind would do what they did to Steve Kampfer.


January 25th, 2009 at 4:53 PM ^

Once this reaches the RCMB we'll be subjected to rounds of Sparty defensiveness and justification like you can already see in the YouTube comments for that video, including:

"OMG but Jack Johnson"
"you guys do this too"
"Kampfer hit Tropp's knee"
"His injury is irrelevant because he was playing"

(Seriously, there's one guy who snarkily wonders if Michigan fans are going to bring up an offseason incident in 1997 in which a Michigan player allegedly attacked someone. 1997? This has to be a joke, right?)

Note that Conboy pushes Tropp away after he takes his first swing. Even the guy who made the conscious decision to sucker-punch a player in the neck thought his assault was over the line.

I don't blame Mr. Kampfer for confronting the man who assaulted his son. At least he was going to challenge him to a fight first, or maybe approach him from the front at least.

And kudos to the students for the slow, loud, sustained "FUCK YOU STATE" chant. Normally I'd be annoyed and think it unoriginal and too easy, but this time it was deserved.

Comley's swirling the drain. Yostbuilt said it best: Enjoy last place, you pricks.

Also, "you guys do it too" is the University of Ohio State defense when they throw bags of urine at our fans. Nice that MSU's proudest rebuttal isn't even a notch above University of Ohio State's.


January 25th, 2009 at 5:33 PM ^

Good point. I'd like to think that slashing an unconscious player is so unbelievably awful that even the designated team thug and guy who decided it was OK to punch Kampfer's neck wouldn't stand for it -- which that compounds the awfulness of the attack -- but I'm probably giving him too much credit.

My name ... is Tim

January 25th, 2009 at 5:12 PM ^

As someone who hasn't followed, or really cared to follow, Michigan hockey since I graduated and can't watch the games anymore, even I am up in arms about this. Something about a Michigan State person/player openly assaulting a defenseless Wolverine really gets my blood boiling. Tropp would be wise not to step onto the ice against Michigan ever again. I'm sure they will have a Baltimore Ravens-Hines Ward-esque bounty out on his head in that locker room.


January 25th, 2009 at 5:22 PM ^

All of the asshole guys who wanted to be cops from my high school went to state.

Every cheap HPV carrier slut I knew in school went to state.

Their sports teams are really just an extension of the university as a whole.

Fuck You and forever.


January 25th, 2009 at 8:46 PM ^

Listen, everyone is horrified by this incident. As an MSU grad, I'm not proud that the goons who committed the act were in Green & White. I truly hope that Mr. Kampfer fully recovers and that Conboy and Tropp lose their right to represent our school.

I understand the "fuck you State" chants, and I think it's to be expected that people will direct their anger at the school as a whole, and not just the two idiots who do not represent what we're about. Rivalries tend to bring out strong emotions, and an ugly incident like this is bound to bring out a lot of anger. With that said, making wild, offensive generalizations about the students of a University isn't really a great way to get your point that a classless act is an extension of the University and its students. To say things like "Every cheap HPV carrier slut I knew in school went to state" are offensive and have no place in a rivalry, much like the cheap shot that has horrified everyone here.

I don't mean to take away from the primary issue at hand, and I am definitely not defending the actions of Conboy and Tropp; but I think that asinine, hateful generalizations are bad for all of us both as sports fans and as adults. So I offer a respectful fuck you to Argus99, and hope for a speedy recovery for Mr. Kampfer


January 25th, 2009 at 5:48 PM ^

that shit like this will stop is to take the full face masks off and give the kids half visors and let them fight!!! there is way to much stick work and cheap shots in college hockey becuase the players know that nothing is going to happen.

what we saw last night might be the worst thing i have ever seen in hockey for the simple fact that every player on state and every person in yost knew what steve was coming back from and they still decided to hit in the head slash him in the head/nack while he was on the ice motionless.

the sad part about this is that this one of the biggest rivaleries (sp?) in all of college sports and then something like this happens. shit like this doesn't even happen in the michigan/OSU game. this was completely classless and i don't expect anything less of MSU.



January 25th, 2009 at 6:40 PM ^

No, it's not the only way to stop it. The CCHA needs to take a harder stance.

1.) Conboy and Tropp are done. Period. Yeah it sucks to end someone's career. But this COULD end Kampfer's. And even (hopefully) if it doesn't, we can't base punishments on the consequences of the action. You base them on the action. The action could end someone else's career. Thus, you're career is over too.

2.) Enforce/strengthen the damn rules. You throw a single punch, you're done. Game over + a suspension. You actually start enforcing the rules and people won't be seeing how far they can cross the lines.

Hockey should be physical, not violent. Hockey players have sticks, it doesn't mean they should PURPOSEFULLY swing them at other players. That is violent. That is wrong. That doesn't have a place in this sport. If you're watching hockey for the fights, change the channel to something else.

Someone said that hockey was fun because of the violence/fights. Wouldn't hockey be fun as hell to watch if everyone had the speed, agility, and vision of the Gretzky's and Lemieux's of the world? Fight's do not make hockey fun. Hockey makes hockey fun. Hockey has physicality, but it sure as hell shouldn't have violence.


January 25th, 2009 at 6:03 PM ^

That does have the be the most violent criminal act i've ever seen as part of any sporting event. I thought that Jesse Boulerice (sp??) broadswording the guy from Guelph in the OHL back in '98 was the depths of depravity, but this was worse.
Hopefully the league, NCAA and the school do the right thing here and toss him. The scary thing is that Boulerice still plays (right now i believe in the AHL)I always cringe when I see that he still plays and he has had some other vicious cheap shot hits. If this guy is allowed to continue to play without consequence, even long term, he'll probably end up paralyzing someone in some adult A league or bottom of the barrel semipro circuit.
Hopefully there is something that USA Hockey/Hockey Canada can do to prevent me or any other rec player from ever having to face people like this in a game where we're supposed to be having fun.

Enjoy Life

January 25th, 2009 at 6:19 PM ^

This is what is so great about the internets.

The MSM and the "powers that be" will have a much harder time trying to sweep this one under the rug.

Keep up the outrage!!


January 25th, 2009 at 6:38 PM ^

Hard to see much on that video, but what I saw was enough. There's no place for anything like that in the game, and if Tropp sees a second of ice time again this season it will be way too soon. (I don't have the context of what Conboy did the rest of the game, not having been able to watch the game, so it's hard to say much about that. It's also hard to see what happened on the initial hit - the first view of it pans over just after the hit, and the second is right at the edge of the screen. But it looks like either a DQ-worthy check from behind or a punch, which would also have gotten him a DQ at minimum.)

I hope Tropp's actions were just a momentary lapse of judgment and not part of a pattern of dirty play. But that's still one hell of a lapse, and one that deserves having him sit for the season at a bare minimum. (If it is part of a larger pattern, he needs to be kicked off the team permanently.)

There is no way to justify what happened, and anyone who tries is insane. I hope Kampfer's doing all right.


January 25th, 2009 at 7:24 PM ^

I too am a State grad, and I co-sign this post -- what those guys did is completely indefensible, and I certainly hope that neither of them will ever wear an MSU sweater again.

Most importantly, I really hope Kampfer is all right. Watching that video makes me sick to my stomach.

Big Head

January 25th, 2009 at 6:44 PM ^

Kids was a thug while with the Omaha Lancers...and we loved it (of course, he was on our squad).

Scored the winning goal in a shootout, skated by the bench, and flexed while gliding.


January 25th, 2009 at 7:03 PM ^

I've been around and involved with hockey since the age of 3. That coach knew exactly what he was doing leaving the grinders out there that late in the game. His team was getting beat and he wanted to set the tone for future games. He also wanted to try to take away some momentum for the upcoming week. If they would have went out there and fought or had some aggressive checks he would have played the "effort" up big time to the media as well as his post game talk with the team.

This chickenshit of punching a dude from behind has to stop. I need not mention the cunt move of axing a guy with your stick when he's down.

You are a bitch if you sucker-punch somebody period. If he wanted to "go" there is a standard operating procedure to do so. This was malicious and cowardly.

Fuck these two cowards and there piece of shit school.

Crime Reporter

January 25th, 2009 at 7:20 PM ^

After watching the replay, this truly was a henious act. Those two jerks, especially the guy who took a slap shot at our guy, must be punished, and punished severly.
However, I was very disappointed by the mass chant. It was unnecessary. There are kids who attend these games. Granted, I feel the same way, but it was disappointing. Sorry to sound like an old man. Just my thoughts.

Enjoy Life

January 25th, 2009 at 8:08 PM ^

There are only 2 possibilities:

1) The "children" have already heard the word "FUCK" and know what it means so why does it matter.

2) The "children" have never heard the word and have no idea what it means. The parents explain it is one of those words that children should not repeat. If this is the first time the parents have had to explain this, it will not be the last.

Wolverine In Exile

January 25th, 2009 at 7:35 PM ^

amen to that comment. I just sent an email to the MSU AD. Here is the text of my message:


The display of wanton violence and disregard displayed by two players who represent your
university at the UM v MSU hockey game on Saturday night was not only beyond the scope of
any type of "hockey honor code". Indeed it could be considered criminal assault. It has
been a sad two years to watch your once proud hockey program who represented the classic
hard nosed hockey under Coach Mason descend into this type of "slapshot" mugging on ice
your current coach has allowed to fester. Although this is the most recent and extreme
incident, a close examination of MSU hockey over thee past two years will demonstrate a
coach who has lost control of his program and the changing of a hockey power into a beer
league brawl-fest.

I have three cousins who consider themselves proud MSU graduates and even they were
sickened and repulsed by the actions of Mr Conboy and Tropp. I would hope you have the
courage to begin the reclamation of your hockey program by at the very least suspending
these players for this season, and any additional time until Mr Kampfer can return to the
ice. This type of outright thuggery demands the harshest penalty your university can
muster, and it would look quite favorably upon your university if you acted quickly and
did not wait for the conference to impose sanctions.

Indeed, perhaps this can also be a lesson for Mr Comley. He is quoted after the game as
saying he could not convince the player to come back to the bench after serving a penalty
immediately preceding the attack. If that is true, it is a sign of a coach who has lost
control of his team. It is well time for Mich St to rededicate itself to finding a coach
who can adequately represent the university both by the players he chooses to recruit as
well as one whose players respect him enough to follow his directions, especially in a
highly charged emotional atmosphere.



January 25th, 2009 at 7:47 PM ^

MSU doesn't matter. It's in the past.

Now the team needs to focus on destroying Notre Stain, Lake Superior State, Nebraska-Omaha, Ohio State and Ferris Beuller State all in successive order. That's all the matters.


January 25th, 2009 at 8:55 PM ^

My kids play hockey and I have to say that if someone did that to one of my boys there is no telling how I would respond. Sickening. What the hell is the matter with people that do things like this? Its a highly charged and bitter rivalry, I get that, but you can not win every time you play. Sore ass losers. Sparty needs a little class.

MC Hammer

January 25th, 2009 at 9:17 PM ^

BGH, lacrosse definitely "comes close" to that combination.

I have no idea where the "lacrosse is played by pussies" comes from. That truly baffles me. That is a contact sport that is physically demanding. It isn't tennis.

To use your own line, "Like most of you previous efforts, fail."


January 25th, 2009 at 10:04 PM ^

Your comments re: lacrosse are, well, dumb.

A defensemen's lacrosse stick is the same length (some are longer) than a standard hockey stick. The shafts are usually made out of titanium, and the protective gear by lacrosse players getting the blunt end of those sticks is far less than what hockey players wear (no leg protection).

By the way - I think hockey is the toughest sport out there, bar none. But most of your distinctions are without differences, and you vastly overstate the point for no real reason - so save the snark.

Having played both, trust me, getting lined up and stuck with your head down during a ground ball scrum is not pleasant, nor are constant rap checks from a 5 foot titanium club. And no, neither is getting upended at mid-ice while reaching for a buddy pass. Both sports are damn effing hard.


January 26th, 2009 at 1:29 AM ^

There are a lot of points here to address:

1. These actions were clearly an abomination and should be denounced by all hockey fans, regardless of school affiliation.

2. Hockey may be the fastest and most physical sport, and sometimes tempers flare. Fighting has long been a legitimate part of the game, and some would argue that preserving a letigitmate role for fighting prevents these kinds of actions. Even so, every guy that has ever laced up the skates knows that this was way out of line. Have the stones to face your opponent and drop the gloves.

3. Conboy should be out for the season and Tropp should never see NCAA ice again. There is no excuse for actions that have no purpose but to inflict serious injury.

4. The coach could not have been surprisd that his goon took a cheapshot. He might not have expected such a vicious attack, but putting Conboy out there in that situation was not an accident. The coach didn't have to say anything for the guys to get the message.

5. Yes, BGH, a stick can be used as a weapon, but real hockey players drop the stick and the gloves before sorting things out. To do otherwise is pathetic and cowardly. Also, not to nitpick, but regarding your comment about JJ's "two-handed cross-check" - all cross-checks are by definition two-handed.

6. There should be criminal charges filed against the players for assault (esp. Tropp). If they really want to get the attention of MSU, Kampfer's family should file suit against Comley and MSU (negligence and negligent hiring, or something). The charges can be dropped when Comley is fired and the players are tossed off of the team.

7. If you do write to the MSU AD, please point out that the MSU administration now has knowledge of the tendency of the players to act violently and the coach to lose control. If there was ever a future incident involving these players (perhaps even involving a borderline clean hit), the coach and the administration could face civil liability for placing the players back on the ice despite such knowledge.

8. I agree with ThWard and Chitown - Lacrosse is also a very physical sport. Having played both I can say that you can hit someone just as hard in lacrosse. I never knocked anybody out in hockey, but did in lacrosse (anecdotal, I know). Sticks for lacrosse defensemen can be up to 72 inches long, while hockey sticks in the NCAA cannot exceed 63 inches in length. Both can be wooden, but are often metal or composite these days.