Maple Grove hockey coach Stefano faces no-confidence vote following purported sex scandal
Stefano faces renewed scrutiny for his stewardship of the scandal-ridden Maple Grove varsity hockey team.
The Osseo-Maple Grove youth hockey association is apparently dissatisfied with the way a scandal involving the high school team was handled, prompting two unusual motions to be placed before board members.
The first is a no-confidence vote on Gary Stefano, head coach of the embattled varsity boys' team, and the second would sever ties between Osseo-Maple Grove youth hockey and the varsity program.
Last month, 13 players and Stefano were suspended for an incident that took place at a private home in December. We reported that the incident involved a sex tape featuring at least one player and a girl. It was later reported that the purported sex tape was called "The Show." Stefano characterized the scandal as "by far my worst experience" during his more than 30-year career as a coach, but he and other officials, citing data privacy laws, have consistently stopped short of disclosing exactly what happened in December.
The youth hockey association reportedly oversees about 900 players and conducts joint clinics with the varsity team. If the motion to sever ties between the youth and varsity programs is approved, high school players and coaches would be barred from having any interaction with youth teams and players.
The no-confidence vote is symbolic, but would certainly come as a blow to Stefano since the youth program is a "feeder" program for the varsity team.
A Star Tribune report contains some interesting background information about Stefano and another recent incident involving Maple Grove varsity hockey players:
Stefano, the only varsity hockey coach in the school's 17-year history, pleaded guilty to drunken driving in 2010. He performed two days of community work as part of his criminal sentence, and was required to attend a post-sentence program for those convicted of drunken driving.
Though Stefano said he had never dealt with a similar crisis as the one now facing the hockey team, Maple Grove police responded to an episode a year ago in which one of Stefano's star players went to confront a teammate at his home. A fight ensued and one of the players was sent to the emergency room with injuries. The police report also indicated that a parent took part in the fight.
The mother of one of the players said her son was briefly suspended from the team because of the incident. Police classified the incident as a fifth-degree assault, but documents showed that the mother did not press charges after police said her son could also be charged in the incident.
And KARE 11 sheds some light on discussion about the hockey scandal that took place at last night's Osseo school board meeting (Maple Grove High School is part of the Osseo district):
[B]oard chair Dean Henke defended the district's actions, and said the district immediately reported the allegation to the police.
"We are aware that there are many rumors about what may or may not have happened in that incident. We know it has been frustrating to parents, students, staff, and media that the school district cannot confirm or deny even the most far reaching rumors because we are responsible for complying with data privacy laws. We take that responsibility very seriously, and we will continue to adhere to the law in this area," said Henke.
The two youth association motions could be voted on as soon as this weekend, though they could also be withdrawn before Sunday's meeting.
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