• July 16, 2024

In Columbus, Ohio, recent revelations shed light on the grievances against hockey coaches at a local high school, resulting in their suspension and subsequent resignation. ABC 6/FOX 28 News delved into public records related to the investigation, uncovering a seemingly successful program that faced allegations of compromising the mental well-being of players due to purportedly abusive coaching methods.

Despite the team’s impressive track record in terms of victories, some parents and students asserted that the success came at a considerable expense to their mental health. The scrutiny intensified when Olentangy Liberty hockey coach Kevin Alexander and two assistant coaches were placed on leave last month, following accusations of inappropriate language use around students. While the school district cited this as the reason for the suspension, parents contended that the coaches’ behavior was not merely “inappropriate” but rather abusive.

Public records obtained through requests revealed emails from concerned parents, one stating that their son had suffered significantly under the alleged toxic coaching environment, ultimately leading him to quit hockey due to the impact on his mental well-being. Another email characterized the team as part of an “abusive, toxic, and psychologically devastating ice hockey program.” During district investigations, students corroborated these claims, describing the team culture as “very toxic” and recounting instances where they were berated with offensive language, being told to “stop playing like a [expletive].”

The three coaches, including head coach Kevin Alexander, resigned the previous week. Assistant coach Darwin McClelland admitted that his actions were inappropriate and embarrassing but defended Alexander as a great leader who loves the program. Alexander, through his attorney, addressed the accusations, asserting that the comments against him were taken out of context, with some being fabricated by disgruntled parents unhappy with their children’s playing time:

He went on to say:
“It’s heartbreaking that three great coaches were lost in just trying to raise good young men… I won’t apologize for being a demanding coach My 10+ year record speaks for itself, and the hundreds of texts and posts in support of me and my staff reminds me of all the amazing moments with these kids”

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