After video emerges, Wilderness coach employment ends

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An assistant coach for the Cloquet-based Minnesota Wilderness hockey team is no longer employed with the organization after allegedly soliciting a 16-year-old boy for sex. Brendan Phelps is no longer allowed to participate in USA Hockey activities, which includes any activity with the North American Hockey League (NAHL).

The incident came to light by the group ‘Midwest Predator Catchers,’ who posted a video on YouTube of the meet-up. The YouTube group poses as fake minors online to lure in predatory adults.

The meeting point was set in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. WDIO has reached out to the Sleepy Eye Police Department for comment, but have not heard back.

WDIO has also gotten in contact with the General Manager of the Minnesota Wilderness, Dave Boitz, who provided this statement about the now-former coach.

The Minnesota Wilderness was informed on Sunday, July 10, that a video making allegations against Assistant Coach Brendan Phelps had been posted on YouTube and possibly other social media sites. The Wilderness has been in contact with the North American Hockey League, the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and local authorities regarding this matter.

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. Based on the information currently available to the 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 incident is now being handled by the local authorities and the U.S. Center for SafeSport. Therefore, in cooperation with their investigations, the Minnesota Wilderness has no further comment at this time.

In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16-years-old. Phelps has not been criminally charged.