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Moorhead hockey hazing results in suspensions

Though suspensions were issued, questions remain regarding a hazing complaint made by a parent about the Moorhead boys hockey team.

Coach Dave Morinville and an unidentified number of his players were disciplined, the district said in a release on Friday.

Morinville was suspended for one game for "failing to provide adequate supervision of student-athletes," and his players were "disciplined according to school district policy and Minnesota State High School League bylaws."

MSHSL bylaws state a student "shall lose eligibility in a sport for the next two consecutive interscholastic contests or two weeks of that season, whichever is greater."

The Moorhead School District's policy lists hazing under its prohibiting intimidation and bullying policy section. It states that the consequences "may range from behavioral interventions up to and including suspension and/or expulsion."

Yet the guidelines do not state how many days the suspension would last.

Moorhead athletic director Don Hulbert and Moorhead School District communications coordinator Pam Gibb would not provide further comment.

Morinville declined to comment.

The district completed its investigation on Friday, but not much was said, leading to the following questions:

* What happened to provoke the investigation?

* Did the incident happen on or off school grounds?

* How many students were hazed?

* How many players were suspended?

* When did the event take place?

What is certain is that the investigation was filed just after Moorhead's Christmas break, which ended Monday, according to the district's calendar.

Hulbert told The Forum on Wednesday that a parent filed the complaint and an investigation was launched.

Hulbert and Moorhead High Principal Gene Boyle said they spoke with coaches, parents and players.

"We talked to those who were affected and those who were bystanders," Hulbert said earlier in the week. "In any situation like this, we are ready to accumulate input from those meetings."

Morinville and the suspended players would miss today's game at Minnetonka if the suspensions begin immediately.

In lieu of that, the suspended players would miss a Class 2A Section 8 games at St. Cloud Tech and at home against Buffalo, along with games at Wayzata and East Grand Forks.

The earliest the suspended players could return is Jan. 22 when Moorhead hosts rival Warroad.

Morinville and his whole team were allowed to practice and play during the week while the investigation was being conducted.

Moorhead (6-3-1) won both games it played this week and has won four of its last five games.

The most recent, an 8-0 win over Thief River Falls, came Thursday.

Because the suspensions were hazing related, Moorhead, one of the state's most respected hockey programs, becomes the second Minnesota school to face sanctions.

Elk River's varsity football program was suspended for five days in August until the season resumed, with the school board removing four players from the team and suspending five players.

Six coaches were also disciplined by the district, including the team's head coach, who resigned shortly afterward.

The suspensions come at a time when Moorhead is scheduled to host Hockey Day Minnesota on Feb. 12.

Hockey Day Minnesota, which is in its fifth year, is an event where a community is selected to host two outdoor high school hockey games in a day to showcase the state's favorite sport.

Moorhead was awarded Hockey Day Minnesota in June.