Maple Grove hockey parent: "That whole organization should have a no-confidence vote" [INTERVIEW]
Heidemann's son is now playing at Breck, where Heidemann says "there's none" of the dysfunction and politics that allegedly characterize Maple Grove youth hockey.
When Terry Heidemann heard about the no-confidence vote the youth hockey association planned to take yesterday regarding Maple Grove boys varsity coach Gary Stefano, he felt compelled to get in touch and tell us about the ordeal his son went through while playing for a Maple Grove youth team this season.
SEE ALSO (MORE LINKS AT BOTTOM OF POST): Maple Grove hockey coach Stefano faces no-confidence vote following purported sex scandal
"What pissed me off is that we're having a no-confidence vote on the coach -- that whole organization should have a no-confidence vote," Heidemann said.
Heidemann and his family moved from Montana to Maple Grove last August, and his 13-year-old son enrolled at Breck. But Breck doesn't have an 8th grade hockey team, so he elected to play for the Bantam B1 Crimson team in Maple Grove.
When practices began, Heidemann's son excelled on the ice and was named captain of the team. But the good times didn't last long.
Heidemann's wife has a master's degree in social work and works with abused kids for a living. She realized Maple Grove's youth hockey culture "isn't normal" as early as tryout camps, Heidemann said.
Watching some of the tryouts, she said, "'There are some kids out there that are out of control,'" Heidemann told us.
Teammates started giving Heidemann's son grief for being named captain so soon after moving to Maple Grove from Montana, and the teasing soon escalated, Heidemann said.
"It started to turn into bullying. There was some physical stuff -- a lot of mental stuff. He came off the ice in tears many time just wanting to quit," Heidemann said.
One of Heidemann's son's teammates in particular was making his life miserable. Eventually, Heidemann's wife, fed up with coaches' alleged inability or unwillingness to do anything about the situation, decided to write a letter to the Maple Grove youth hockey board detailing specific bullying instances (Heidemann declined to detail specific instances during our interview). At the next board meeting, Heidemann son's tormentor was suspended.
"Several parents came up to us and said, 'my kid was the victim last year. You have no idea how happy we are somebody did this,'" Heidemann said. But even the bullying suspension turned out to be more complicated than it initially seemed.
"After a week, the [allegedly bully] comes back, and we get a call. My kid had been suspended for bullying the same kid!" Heidemann said, characterizing his son's suspension as "obviously a payback."
His son's tormentor's dad "happens to be an old pro hockey player, and everybody in Maple Grove thinks he's a God," he continued.
Then, two weeks ago, Heidemann says his son and wife were called into a meeting with the Maple Grove youth hockey board.
Board members "just started yelling at him, telling him 'you're not the angel your mom thinks you are.'" It was the last straw. "I thought, you're not going to talk to my kid that way. So we're done with Maple Grove, and now he's playing junior varsity for Breck," Heidemann said, adding that his son is thrilled about the switch.
Heidemann insists that his son's ordeal is indicative of the dysfunctional youth hockey culture in Maple Grove.
Some kids "get away with anything. Dads coach from the stands and nothing is said, parents get thrown out of games by officials for yelling at bad calls," Heidemann said. "One dad told one of the kids from the other team as he was coming off the ice that he was gonna 'kick the shit out of him.'"
Referring to the varsity team's purported sex tape scandal, Heidemann said, "the type of behavior that you got out of those high school kids, if you think that's a coincidence you're crazy. You're breeding this stuff by allowing it to happen at younger ages. Then they get older, are introduced to drugs, girls, and alcohol, and you expect them to behave?"
Heidemann said he knew of a Peewee coach who had a video on his cell phone of one of his players wearing a diaper on his head in an apparent instance of hazing or bullying. A player's father went to the Maple Grove board with the video and ended up temporarily banned from Maple Grove hockey rinks for his trouble.
"The coach with the video on his phone is still coaching. That's insane," Heidemann said. "That very same coach is on another cell phone video kicking one of his players. He should be barred from coaching kids for the rest of his life."
"My concern is that the board is now coming out and giving the perception that they really want to do something, want to distance themselves from the high school team," Heidemann continued. "But the reality is they're so crooked themselves -- it's so hypocritical, that's what bothers me."
And for what it's worth, varsity head coach Stefano was never subjected to the threatened no-confidence vote. As KARE reports, the motion was pulled from yesterday's meeting agenda before the meeting occurred.
THE MAPLE GROVE HOCKEY SCANDAL:
-- Maple Grove hockey player says he graduated from the "college of porn"
-- Maple Grove High School hockey scandal: Rumored player sex tape called "The Show"
-- Maple Grove high school hockey scandal reportedly involved player sex tape [UPDATE]
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