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After investigating hockey players, Thief River Falls suspends entire program

THIEF RIVER FALLS, Minn. — The Thief River Falls school district has handed its boys hockey program a one-week suspension. The suspension began Monday, Jan. 29.

High school superintendent Bradley Bergstrom said the program forfeited a junior varsity game Tuesday and will forfeit varsity games against Crookston on Thursday and St. Cloud Cathedral on Saturday.

The school district took action after hiring an independent investigator to inquire about allegations of inappropriate behavior against the high school teams.

Interviews were done with each player, with parents allowed to be present.

"The investigation is complete,'' Bergstrom said Wednesday. "Based on the outcome, the district suspended the varsity and junior varsity for one week.

"Our school district takes all allegations of inappropriate conduct seriously," the superintendent said. "The district actions are designed to prevent some or any similar events from happening in the future.''

Minnesota privacy laws prevent disclosing private data on any student, Bergstrom said.

In addition to the suspension, the school is providing mandatory counseling for all players on the teams.

"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.

"They (hockey players) are my kids. All of the 2,072 kids in this district are my kids. But if they're not doing what they're supposed to do, we will hold them accountable.''