Maple Grove hockey parent: "That whole organization should have a no-confidence vote" [INTERVIEW]
|Heidemann's son is now playing at Breck, where Heidemann says "there's none" of the dysfunction and politics that allegedly characterize Maple Grove youth hockey.|
SEE ALSO (MORE LINKS AT BOTTOM OF POST): Maple Grove hockey coach Stefano faces no-confidence vote following purported sex scandal
"What pissed me off is that we're having a no-confidence vote on the coach -- that whole organization should have a no-confidence vote," Heidemann said.
Heidemann and his family moved from Montana to Maple Grove last August, and his 13-year-old son enrolled at Breck. But Breck doesn't have an 8th grade hockey team, so he elected to play for the Bantam B1 Crimson team in Maple Grove.
When practices began, Heidemann's son excelled on the ice and was named captain of the team. But the good times didn't last long.
Heidemann's wife has a master's degree in social work and works with abused kids for a living. She realized Maple Grove's youth hockey culture "isn't normal" as early as tryout camps, Heidemann said.
Watching some of the tryouts, she said, "'There are some kids out there that are out of control,'" Heidemann told us.
Teammates started giving Heidemann's son grief for being named captain so soon after moving to Maple Grove from Montana, and the teasing soon escalated, Heidemann said.
"It started to turn into bullying. There was some physical stuff -- a lot of mental stuff. He came off the ice in tears many time just wanting to quit," Heidemann said.
One of Heidemann's son's teammates in particular was making his life miserable. Eventually, Heidemann's wife, fed up with coaches' alleged inability or unwillingness to do anything about the situation, decided to write a letter to the Maple Grove youth hockey board detailing specific bullying instances (Heidemann declined to detail specific instances during our interview). At the next board meeting, Heidemann son's tormentor was suspended.
"Several parents came up to us and said, 'my kid was the victim last year. You have no idea how happy we are somebody did this,'" Heidemann said. But even the bullying suspension turned out to be more complicated than it initially seemed.
"After a week, the [allegedly bully] comes back, and we get a call. My kid had been suspended for bullying the same kid!" Heidemann said, characterizing his son's suspension as "obviously a payback."
His son's tormentor's dad "happens to be an old pro hockey player, and everybody in Maple Grove thinks he's a God," he continued.
Then, two weeks ago, Heidemann says his son and wife were called into a meeting with the Maple Grove youth hockey board.