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Published January 06 2011

Moorhead High investigates hazing complaint

Moorhead High School officials said Wednesday they are investigating a parent’s complaint regarding potential hazing involving members of the boys varsity hockey team.

The complaint was filed with the school just after Christmas break, said Moorhead athletic director Don Hulbert.

“As with any parental complaint or student complaint, we are obligated by Minnesota State High School League rules and by school rules to investigate,” Hulbert said.

Hulbert and Moorhead Principal Gene Boyle declined to provide specifics.

They also wouldn’t say how many players were involved, including how many players were allegedly hazed or how many students were involved with the alleged hazing.

Boyle declined to say when the event happened or if it happened on school grounds.

Hulbert said he has spoken with players on the team.

Moorhead hockey coach Dave Morinville said he would not comment about the investigation.

The school has also talked with parents and coaches during its investigation, Boyle said.

“We talked to those who were affected and those who were bystanders,” Hulbert said. “In any situation like this, we are ready to accumulate input from those meetings. There will be a decision made Friday, we hope.”

Hulbert said if suspensions are given, the school would follow the MSHSL’s guidelines.

If the situation is determined to be hazing, the players in question could be suspended for two weeks or two games, whichever is greater, said Hulbert, who quoted the MSHSL’s guidelines.

If suspensions were handed out Friday, the players involved would miss four games.

The Spuds, who are perennial state tournament contenders, play their next four games on the road.

Boyle added that the players could also be suspended from school if they are suspended from the team.

For now, all players are being allowed to play and practice, Boyle and Hulbert said.

Moorhead (5-3-1) has a game tonight at Thief River Falls. Moorhead’s most recent game, a 5-2 win over East Grand Forks on Tuesday, featured the team’s full roster and the entire team practiced Wednesday.

Because the investigation started after Christmas break, it meant Moorhead had all of its players for a holiday tournament in the Twin Cities.

Moorhead went 2-1 in the tournament, which included an upset against previously undefeated and top-ranked Wayzata.

The team has won three of its last four games and sits in fourth place in Class 2A, Section 8A.

Hazing has been an issue for schools in the region over the past year with Bismarck Century and Elk River (Minn.) coming under investigation.

Century’s boys soccer team had three players suspended in October for an incident that occurred at a Grand Forks hotel.

Elk River’s varsity football program was suspended for five days in August until the season resumed with the school board kicking four players off the team, along with suspending five players.

Six coaches were disciplined by the district, including head coach Mike Cross, who resigned shortly after.


Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548