Howell, Mich. (WXYZ) - The varsity hockey season for Howell High School has been canceled until further notice after the district fired three of their coaches on Thursday for claims of hazing.
The choice to fire the coaches has outraged many parents and students. Many of the players and their families showed up at a restaurant in Howell to show their support for the man they still call coach.
Just like the prayer they said at the restaurant is a tradition at their hockey games, recently fired Head Coach Randy Montrose said that the talent show was a tradition for his players at an annual tournament in the U.P. during a trip sponsored by Howell High School.
“I don’t feel that I’ve done anything wrong with these boys at all, and I think everyone one of them here would tell you the same thing,” said Randy Montrose, the head coach who was fired.
But the Howell Superintendent and other school officials called it hazing after someone showed them pictures of the players dressed up in women’s clothing during the talent show. The district fired all three varsity coaches.
“People might look at it the wrong way. But this is something they wanted to do and this was all driven by the players, no one ever said they felt uncomfortable,” said Montrose.
7 Action News has two photos that are being used with permission from each student’s parent. One of the teens shown in the pictures is wearing a dress and a wig. A second teen featured in a photo is wearing nothing but shorts and boots. 7 Action News has been told the rest of the team was wearing similar clothing and paraded around a bar in Marquette across from the hotel the team was staying at.
“I had a girl’s bra on and some shorts,” said Keiffer Roth, a sophomore. The hockey player said that everyone thought it was funny and no one complained or felt uncomfortable. Each teen performed a skit or song and awards were given out. Most of the parents of the players were there, including Roth’s father Jim.
“I asked and he said, well dad I want to do it and no one is forcing me to do it. As strange as it was, it was just clean fun,” said father Jim Roth.
The decision to fire Montrose and the other coaches has been an unpopular one among many hockey parents and players. Dozens attended a meeting earlier in the evening at the high school where police were called for crowd control. Montrose put in ten years with the hockey program and he had hoped it would have been more.
The other two coaches that the district fired are Assistant Coach Marty Passino and Assistant Coach Scotty Gardiner
The team’s next hockey game is Saturday, but they will not be there. The district has canceled all practices and games for the varsity team until an interim coach can be hired.
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