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Maple Grove H.S. Officials Tight-Lipped On Hockey Suspensions

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MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) — A meeting at Maple Grove High School has left a lot of questions still unanswered.

School officials, including the hockey coach who was recently put on paid leave, invited us to talk about what’s been going on at their school and how they plan to move forward, but we’re still no closer to knowing what happened that got 13 hockey players there suspended.

However, head boys’ hockey coach, Gary Stefano, did tell us, that in his 32 years of coaching, this was by far his worst experience.

“I want to be clear, this behavior was unacceptable,” said Stefano.

Stefano spent a day on paid administrative leave last week while the Osseo Area School District investigated an off-campus incident that happened in December at a private home.

“We can move on and make sure things like this don’t happen again,” said Stefano.

The incident also resulted in the suspension of 13 Crimson varsity hockey players.

“Kids make dumb decisions sometimes, so we have to use it as a way to teach them and prepare them for the future,” says Principal Sara Vernig.

Thursday, administrators spoke about how they’re moving forward with an action plan, which includes forming a coalition of coaches and student athletes to develop a way to raise expectations.

“We don’t hear the word honor anymore and it’s time to bring it back,” says Wendy Loberg, a system wide administrator for the Osseo Area School District.

However, no one would go into detail about what happened, to bring the district to this point.

“Your question about the investigation cannot be answered,” said Barb Olson, the community relations director for the district.

The school cited data privacy as the reason why no one is talking here, even though several rumors and innuendos have ended up online.

“You guys are hearing a lot of rumors,” said Vernig, “I’ll be honest with you. I wish we could clarify, I really do, and we just can’t.”

Again, the incident happened in mid-December, but the school says it didn’t learn about the incident until Jan. 14.

The district hopes their new coalition of coaches and athletes can meet within the next two weeks so this type of situation doesn’t happen again.

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