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University of Minnesota offers support to former assistant hockey coach's possible victims

It has been 35 years since Thomas "Chico" Adrahtas was a Minnesota Gophers hockey assistant coach for one season, but his negative impact on the program is being felt today, after several former players accused him of inappropriate behavior at the U of M and for years after he was dismissed. The university is offering potential victims a chance to tell their stories and get assistance.

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Thomas "Chico" Adrahtas, shown here coaching the club hockey team at Robert Morris University in Illinois two years ago, was a Minnesota Gophers assistant coach in the 1984-85 season. He has been accused of inappropriate behavior with players in Minnesota and Illinois. Robert Morris University photo.
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MINNEAPOLIS — For one hockey season, more than three decades ago, Thomas ‘Chico’ Adrahtas was an assistant coach for the Minnesota Gophers. But his impact on the program, and on hockey in the Midwest, is being felt in a negative way today.

In a story published by The Athletic recently, reporter Katie Strang detailed multiple accusations of improper behavior with his players — much of it sexual in nature — levied against Adrahtas both during his time at the U of M and at several other hockey programs in the Chicago area over the past 35 years.

He was an assistant to Gophers head coach Brad Buetow during the 1984-85 season, in which the U of M compiled a 31-13-3 record and finished second in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association. In retrospect, some players from that era were puzzled by Adrahtas’ arrival in Minnesota.

“I didn’t get the hire. People say, ‘oh what a great coach he was.’ I don’t recall him adding anything to get us a win,” said Pat Micheletti in a Monday interview with The Rink Live. Micheletti, who was a junior and led the Gophers in scoring that season, added, “I didn’t really get Chico’s arrival.”

On Saturday, the office of U of M president Joan Gabel issued the following statement, acknowledging the allegations against Adrahtas during his time at the school, pledging an investigation, and offering those with information about his actions an avenue to come forward anonymously:

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"The University of Minnesota is aware of The Athletic article regarding alleged serious misconduct by an individual who served as a University assistant hockey coach during the 1984-85 season. The University takes this disturbing report seriously and is taking immediate steps — including the retention of the law firm Perkins Coie — to determine what happened. The University is committed to providing support for our former students consistent with our public responsibilities and dedication to a supportive, inclusive and safe environment for our entire community," the statement said.

Gabel’s office is encouraging anyone with relevant information regarding Adrahtas’ activities at the U of M to contact the law firm’s team via email at minn@perkinscoie.com , which is a dedicated address for confidential reporting. They also offered support resources for victims and survivors of sexual abuse or misconduct via the school’s Aurora Center. More information is available at http://aurora.umn.edu/ .

As detailed in The Athletic’s story, Adrahtas was fired by U of M athletic director Paul Giel following his lone season with the program, after at least two former Gophers detailed efforts by Adrahtas to coerce players into engaging in oral sex while blindfolded and restrained. Buetow was also dismissed at the end of that season and replaced by Doug Woog.

Micheletti said he recalled Adrahtas befriending the younger, more naive players on the team. He said years later, there have been some regrets that more was not done to report Adrahtas’ actions.

“In retrospect, we did the wrong thing, because it should have been exposed, and we should’ve had the authorities get involved and arrest the guy and get him out,” said Micheletti, who serves as a radio analyst on some Gophers broadcasts today. “It probably shouldn’t have carried on after he left the U, but we’re 20 or 21 years old, immature, not knowing what to do ... Knowing what an adult would think now, you say ‘god-damn it, why didn’t we alert the authorities and have this guy taken away,’ because he’s hurt a lot of people. I hope he rots in hell.”

Adrahtas, now 64 and living in Florida, denied the accusations when questioned by The Athletic's reporter and to date has not been charged with a crime. As recently as two years ago he was the head coach for the club hockey team at Robert Morris University in Illinois. Buetow’s record of 171-75-8 in six seasons at the school produced the second-highest winning percentage (.689) of any Gophers coach. He had two more college coaching stints at U.S. International University in California and at Colorado College.

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Jess Myers covers college hockey, as well as outdoors, general sports and travel, for The Rink Live and the Forum Communications family of publications. He came to FCC in 2018 after three decades of covering sports as a freelancer for a variety of publications, while working full time in politics and media relations. A native of Warroad, Minn. (the real Hockeytown USA), Myers has a degree in journalism/communications from the University of Minnesota Duluth. He lives in the Twin Cities. Contact Jess via email at jrmyers@forumcomm.com, or find him on Twitter via @JessRMyers. English speaker.
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