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Girls hockey coach forced out at Brainerd

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sports Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

By Mike Bialka, Brainerd Dispatch 

Stephanie Sustercich on Feb. 28 submitted her “requested” resignation as head coach of the Brainerd/Little Falls Flying Warriors girls hockey team. Sustercich said she was asked to resign by Brainerd activities director Charlie Campbell. She said the reason for the request was “political.”

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“No other job components were a factor,” Sustercich said. “Politics equaled parents, but not all parents, just a group who wanted more at all costs and that meant getting rid of the Flying Warriors’ coaching staff.

“My decision to follow through on this request is that I have far too much respect for the game as a whole, from how it is played, the skills required, the levels of competition, and the opportunity to teach young girls life lessons through sports.”

The Flying Warriors went 8-68-1 during her tenure.

“Coach Sustercich provided stability for the program despite the challenging circumstances of being hired just prior to the start of the season in 2011-12, being short-staffed during that first season, and the dropping of the junior varsity team this year,” Campbell said. “She led the program with integrity and professionalism and we’re thankful for her service.”

Sustercich said she has been involved in working with youth and high school girls programs for two decades and supports the elimination of elitism and the entitlement of players and parents. “What are we teaching our young girls when the game is narrowed down to wins/losses, disposing of coaches and a complete disregard for overall program development?” she said. Sustercich said Minnesota has a statute in place, as of July 2013, that helps protect coaches from the actions of parents.

“Coaches at the girls high school level are leaving or forced out annually by the pressures put upon them by administration and parents,” she said. “As a community, let’s not let this happen in our athletic programs. “Hockey is a fickle environment. One minute you are hot and the next cold as ice. “It is my hope that the new coach and staff will receive the support system that is required and is expected to restore the girls high school hockey program to its place in the conference and section.”

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