Hockey scandal hits Thief River Falls

What happened in Thief River Falls, one of the premier hockey towns in Minnesota?

The boy’s varsity and junior varsity hockey team — the entire teams — have been suspended for a week, Forum Communications reports, but privacy laws are preventing officials from saying what’s going on.

The action came after an independent investigator, hired by the school district, turned in a report.

“Our school district takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct seriously. The district actions are designed to prevent some or any similar events from happening in the future,” Bradley Bergstrom, the high school superintendent, told Forum.

Everyone looks guilty of something in a team-wide ban like this.

“That’s not to imply that all players acted or behaved inappropriately,” Bergstrom said. “We’re not singling out players. The action is to show that a team rises and falls together as a team.”

KVRR says the action will result in the forfeit of two games this week.

Thief River Falls Police Chief Dick Wittenberg says a separate investigation is focused on the Bantam A team, an 8th and 9th grade youth hockey program.
WDAZ says all players will be required to go through a counseling program.

Valley News Live says the incident involved a “sexual hazing incident” in the team locker room.

The Thief River Falls Amateur Hockey Association said in a statement it investigated “the matter” but wouldn’t reveal any details.

Thief River Falls junior forward Parker Lane denied any hazing incident in a post on Facebook. He said the team was suspended for “horsing around” after lifting weights.


  • jwest8

    We have not been told what happened. This comment is directed to Parker Lane, one person’s “horsing around” is another person’s harassment, objectification and being a victim.

    • Agreed. Sorry Parker, “Boys just being boys” doesn’t fly anymore.

      • Veronica

        I’m so heartened to see the two of you say that. Thank you.

      • Katia

        Yup. Boys will be held accountable for their actions just like everybody else.

      • John Erving

        Why not?

  • John O.

    If you are a high school athlete angling for a free (or mostly free) ride in college based on your athletic prowess, think before you post on social media. Coaches and (more likely) Compliance Officers will scour the internets for anything and everything every recruit posts on social media. Silence would have been the smart play here.

  • Grant

    There is so much adamant denial of this incident circulating around social media by parents defending their children. Notice Parker says, “the” sexual misconduct? Perhaps he, and the hockey parents, need a lesson in the responsibility one has to report a crime. It is quite likely all the players, possibly even the whole school, were aware of “the” sexual assault, which reportedly occurred in December (consider all the means young people utilize for communicating, in real time, with each other). When investigators, law enforcement, attorneys, and mandatory counseling are involved, something serious happened. Young Parker, his teammates, as well as all the adults involved, need to learn that “boys being boys,” sometimes constitutes a serious crime and the life of an innocent victim has been permanently shattered. The real tragedy is that no one did anything to protect or intervene for him.