Star athletes face charges after brawl

The New Haven Police Department has confirmed the names of five Yale varsity football and hockey players who were arrested early Saturday morning after a fight broke out in front of Gourmet Heaven.

NHPD spokeswoman Bonnie Winchester said that Michael McLeod ’09, Bradley Mills ’07, Matthew Nelson ’09, Matthew Polhemus ’08 and Alexander Richards ’09 were arrested on charges that included breach of peace and criminal mischief shortly after 2 a.m., when Gourmet Heaven night manager Mohamad Masaud called 911 to report what he described as a fight between the students.

Yale Director of Athletics Tom Beckett said the University was aware of the situation, but declined to comment further, citing a lack of information about the incident.

“The investigation is in the hands of Yale University and the New Haven Police Department as they gather the facts associated with this incident,” Beckett said. “At this time we are not able to make further comments.”

Polhemus is the football team’s first-year starting quarterback, and McLeod, last year’s Ivy League Rookie of the Year, is the Bulldogs’ star running back. Mills, Nelson and Richards are members of the men’s ice hockey team. Richards garnered Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey League Rookie of the Week honors three times and Goalie of the Week praise twice last season.

Polhemus declined to comment on the incident. The other students could not be reached.

Yale men’s hockey head coach Keith Allain ’80 said it is unclear at this point whether or not any of the students involved will face disciplinary action from the University.

“The image of the Yale hockey team is important,” he said. “Obviously, there are going to be consequences if these guys were doing things that they shouldn’t have been doing, but I think that to make any decisions now would be jumping the gun.”

Allain said he found out about the incident Sunday morning after men’s ice hockey captain Matt Cohen ’07 called his house to inform him of the fight, which according to Masaud’s estimates resulted in more than $3,500 worth of damages.

Although he did not mention any specific details about the fight, football captain Chandler Henley ’07 said he thinks it was the result of a miscommunication between the students.

“I’m sure they’ll rectify the situation as best they can,” he said. “[But] this will serve as an eye-opener to our team.”

Except for Polhemus, all of the students arrested face charges of breach of peace in the second degree and criminal mischief in the third degree. Polhemus faces a single count of breach of peace in the second degree.

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