WASECA, Minn. (WCCO) — At the cusp of a brand-new season, the Waseca Hockey Association is scrambling. Not on the ice, but in their pocketbooks.
“It’s always bad, but when you come out here and see the little kids out here, this is actually who they took the money from,” said Hockey Association President Jason Attenberger.
The organization is out $6,300, money meant to help young players from Waterville to Ellendale.
“It’s a big chunk, it’s the lifeblood of our association,” Attenberger said.
On Wednesday, authorities charged 47-year-old Rachelle Schoknecht of Mankato with theft by swindle.
The investigation began in September after a member of the association tried to perform an audit at the Nashville Saloon, but co-owner Schoknecht refused.
According to the criminal complaint, she gave various reasons for where the money was, first claiming the lock to the safe holding the hockey money was broken, then saying a former employee took the cash and the money was used to get an attorney.
The morning after charges were filed, a fire broke out at the Saloon, torching a portion of the floor and several barstools.
Several bottles of alcohol were also allegedly stolen and graffiti was left behind.
The Mankato Free Press reports authorities now suspect arson and have filed a search warrant to look for evidence.
As for the Hockey Association, President Jason Attenberger said the season must go on.
“We go forward, we will file whatever we had filed with the state to make sure we are protected,” said Attenberger.
The Hockey Association has since terminated their gambling contract with the Nashville Saloon.
Schoknecht is due in court on Oct. 30.
When a WCCO-TV crew stopped by the Nashville Saloon earlier this week, Schoknecht refused their request for an on-camera interview.
She vehemently denied the charges against her.