I am coming into this discussion very late, so please overlook that.
Although I am a "football guy", I do have some (admittedly limited) insight into the D3 hockey environment in general as my son-in-law played in that venue for 4 years and is currently an assistant coach for his alma mater. That said, I found this conversation interesting, yet also pertinent, and also due to having had the opportunity to serve as an assistant football coach at DIII for a couple of years. Regarding the latter, I see some similarities with regard to this issue between football and hockey at our level. So I though I would share just a couple of comments i.e. my opinion.
IMO, all of you who have shared your comments regarding this topic make legitimate points, although I tend to side with PL, wallstreet and PSU for the following reasons. I get that, even at this level, the head coach and his staff want to play the best players. As such, bringing in a group of new players cannot be faulted, IF it is done in the right way. By that I mean, if the head coach here in question did not sit down after the season one-on-one with each of his players and discuss with them candidly AND diplomatically as to where he saw their status AND how they might try to improve themselves, then that is, frankly, on the coach i.e. very poor professionalism. Obviously, I do not know if the coach in question here did that-I don't recall if that was clarified or not. If he did, then fine and that may have clarified the players' status. Also, it should have been (and perhaps it was) made clear that there were to be tryouts and I can see, then, that process of bringing in a larger group of recruits as has been described as happened. However, if it was not, to just simply "dump" those players current players (as has been mentioned) without a personal discussion with them as to their status and/or how their future potential standing/place on the team might be, is, IMO, simply wrong.
Additionally, there is nothing wrong with having cuts, and, in fact, my freshman year was the first year ever that my alma mater had cuts for the football team (we had over 110 out for the team-a "small" amount compared to today-and the cut was made to 90). Granted, it is somewhat much easier to do this in football, particularly today, when so many of the small colleges have large numbers of student-athletes that have been recruited and reporting for pre-season "two-a-days" upwards of 120-140+ players. They will sort themselves out in the true process of "attrition" as has already been discussed here by several of you. For football, this occurs tremendously in the first year as even some of the best athletes in their high school careers find out they are just one of many and at the bottom of the ladder and see limited playing time in the future (or for other reasons, find they just do not desire to continue on with their football careers and concentrate on their academics, which is the other equally important reason they chose to go to college at all. Certainly, by the fourth year, there is usually just a small fraction of those who have remained from their original recruiting class. But, sports like hockey and basketball are a "different situation" in this process obviously due to the limited number of spots. All that said, again, if the process of cuts and status clarification has not been clearly presented to the student-athletes, this situation is a fault of the coach, regardless of how intent he and his staff and the administration are at desiring and making efforts to have a highly successful program. Perhaps this could be clarified here as to if the coach, in fact, had this process in place. Anyway, I respect everyone's opinion here that has been expressed and thank you for "enduring"/listening to mine.