Minnesota Wilderness fire assistant coach for allegations made in YouTube video
The allegations were serious enough to forward to the United States Center for SafeSport, the North American Hockey League, USA Hockey and local authorities.
CLOQUET, Minn. — The Minnesota Wilderness fired assistant coach Brendan Phelps on Monday, July 11 for allegations that were made against him in a YouTube video that was passed around in hockey circles over the weekend.
Wilderness coach and general manager Dave Boitz did not detail the allegations in his statement Monday that announced the immediate termination of Phelps, just that the allegations were serious enough to forward to the United States Center for SafeSport, the North American Hockey League, USA Hockey and local authorities.
U.S. Center for SafeSport is an independent organization established in 2017 by Congress through the Protecting Young Victims from Sexual Abuse and Safe Sports Act. One of the main functions of the U.S. Center for SafeSport is to independently investigate reports of child abuse or sexual misconduct in amateur sports.
Staff at the Sleepy Eye Police Department in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, where the video was purportedly filmed, said they are investigating the allegations against Phelps and plan to forward the results of that investigation to prosecuting attorneys for a decision on potential criminal charges.
Phelps has not been charged with a crime.
Phelps was hired by the Wilderness in May 2019 after coaching youth hockey in Colorado . He was with the Wilderness for three seasons.
“Mr. Phelps’ employment by the Wilderness has ended effective immediately and he has been suspended from all participation in any USA Hockey sanctioned activity, including all activity within the jurisdiction of the NAHL,” read the statement released by Boitz. “Based on the information currently available to the Wilderness, the conduct in question does not appear to have involved any NAHL player personnel or activities.
“Local authorities and the U.S. Center for SafeSport are handling this matter and the Wilderness will cooperate with their efforts, in coordination with the NAHL. The team encourages any player, player’s family member, or billet family member who has concerns about Mr. Phelps’ behavior to contact team representatives, so that they can be put in contact with the U.S. Center for SafeSport and/or local authorities.”
The Wilderness are a junior hockey program based out of Northwoods Credit Union Arena in Cloquet competing in the NAHL. The Tier-II junior league is sanctioned by USA Hockey.