Some parents are standing behind the Prince Albert hockey coach accused of threatening his players to keep them silent.
Parents of at least 14 of the Bantam AA Pirates players have signed off on a statement supporting Shawn Phaneuf.
“It is insulting to us as parents to suggest we would allow our sons to be treated in the manner alleged,” the statement reads.
“We have taken no issue with the coach’s conduct in this instance as we do not agree with the portrayal and perception presented by Ray Boyd.”
Raymond Boyd, whose son is on the team, alleged Phaneuf told his players, aged 13 and 14, to obey the “unwritten rule” of what happens in the dressing room stays in the dressing room.
The coach is accused of then saying if players didn’t obey, he would call a parents’ meeting and reveal details of their sexual activity.
But the parents supporting Phaneuf said the coach wasn’t telling the kids not to communicate with their parents.
“Certain things that go on inside the dressing room should be dealt with inside the dressing room,” the statement read.
“It was a life lesson that the boys are of an age where they should be able to resolve their own issues with each other without having to go to their parents.”
The parents also stressed Phaneuf was clear the players should still tell their parents if unwanted touching, racial slurs or illegal activity occurred.
So far, those supporting Phaneuf have declined interview requests by 650 CKOM.
Coach defended by colleague
A man who has coached alongside Phaneuf is also voicing his support.
“Shawn made a mistake and he apologized for it,” Chris Dunn said. “I’m not saying what he did was right, but now it’s almost a witch hunt.”
Dunn, a minor hockey coach for 15 years, said Phaneuf has a long track record of producing talent and “good human beings.”
He credited part of the success to building a cohesive dressing room through the “unwritten rule.”
“It’s part of the bonding process between those boys,” he said.
“If there’s something happening in the dressing room with two kids fighting, it’s best to leave those kids to figure it out on their own and learn how to grow.”
Dunn added a coach’s job is becoming more difficult with the presence of more “helicopter parents,” who he said get too involved and cause turmoil in the dressing room.
The Prince Albert Minor Hockey Association released a statement Tuesday afternoon saying they concluded their investigation into Phaneuf’s actions.
“Through our investigation many players and parents were contacted. The majority of these people were not of the same opinion as the complainant, and did not perceive comments made in the same context as the complainant,” the statement said.
The association also noted Boyd was offered a hearing Monday evening to voice his complaints, but left citing “personal objections to the process.”
Boyd told 650 CKOM he left because the complaints committee wouldn’t allow him to record the proceedings. He was also uncomfortable Pirates team manager Trevor Klassen was present.
He said it appeared Klassen, a lawyer, was acting as legal counsel for the PAMHA.
“I wasn’t comfortable being there without my legal representation,” Boyd said. “I shouldn’t have to get a lawyer and spend thousands of dollars.”
The PAMHA said discipline was handed down “where necessary,” but didn’t specify the punishment.
Phaneuf has declined interview requests by 650 CKOM.