Skip to main content

Leaders with Duluth Public Schools say they are outlining a plan to "address sportsmanship" after last week's violent attack during a high school hockey game.

During the Feb. 9 game, a member of the Duluth East team cross-check his Denfeld opponent, knocking him to the ground. The Duluth East player then repeatedly hits him in the head while on the ice.

After referees pulled the player away, the Denfeld player is seen laying motionless. Here's video of the incident:

This week, Duluth Public Schools issued a statement on behalf of the activities directors at both schools.

Tom Pearson (Denfeld) and Shawn Roed (East) are working with their coaching staffs "to develop an action plan to address sportsmanship within our district’s athletic programs," the statement says. Step one is a training program to help those coaches be more "proactive," while providing them with tools "to better handle day to day operations and how to be a positive influence in their athletes’ lives."

But longer-term, Pearson and Roed are collaborating with the district to establish "sportsmanship expectations" — behaviors expected from student-athletes, as well as a list of specific consequences for unsportsmanlike conduct. These consequences will be on top of whatever the MSHSL and student code of conduct already lay out. 

The district hopes to have these sportsmanship expectations in place by the time the 2022-23 school year begins.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

“As a district we continually work to promote a positive culture within our athletics programs to ensure good sportsmanship,” Roed said in the statement. “We certainly hope this is reinforced in our words and actions by all of our athletic teams now and in the future.”

Said Pearson: “As an educational based athletic program, we are committed to the health and safety of our students on the field of play as well as their mental health off the field. We understand that our students will make mistakes, and it is up to us to support all parties to ensure that they are safe and supported.”

FOX 21 had reported the Denfeld player was not hospitalized was able to go home that night.

Next Up

Train Days

Historic locomotives to roll into St. Paul for Train Days

The festival at the Union Depot returns June 4-5.

Dalton tornado

Tornadoes, large hail, damaging wind possible in Sunday/Monday storms

The Twin Cities is among the areas that could get hit.

Redtail Ridge Elementary

Sunbather on the roof triggers shelter-in-place at Savage elementary school

The sunbather told police he was trying to "tan and relax."


The Raptor Center's ambassador, Nero the turkey vulture, dies at 47

Nero helped save the California condors before taking up his post as an education ambassador.

Ben Leber

Ben Leber named new permanent co-host of 'Twin Cities Live'

The former Minnesota Vikings linebacker was introduced Friday afternoon.


APM Reports, maker of 'In the Dark' podcast, nixed by Minnesota Public Radio

MPR said "select programming elements" of APM Reports will be incorporated into MPR News.

storm, severe

The latest on holiday weekend severe weather chances for MN

The most significant severe threats are Sunday night and again on Monday.

Arianna Vos

Charges: Driver was drunk, high in head-on crash that killed 19-year-old woman

The young woman killed in the crash was a college student studying zoology.


Screen Shot 2022-02-12 at 8.38.31 AM

Video shows violent attack during MN high school hockey game

The player was lying motionless on the ice after the violent attack.

Mike Randolph

Mike Randolph hired as head coach at St. Thomas Academy

Randolph takes over one of the state's top hockey programs.


Only 'school-approved' fans to be allowed at MSHSL tournament games

The MSHSL announced limited access due to the coronavirus.

unsplash football helmet ground

Parents of star QB suspended for state final file lawsuit to let him play

He was automatically suspended after receiving two unsportsmanlike conduct calls in the semifinal.


Some MN high schools are refusing to pay MSHSL's pandemic fee

The installment fees were approved as a "short-term" budget fix.

high school football

High school football, volleyball to return this fall, MSHSL decides

The league's board held an emergency meeting on Monday.

high school basketball

MSHSL releases plan for winter sports, fall postseason

There will be no state tournament for fall sports.

high school basketball

New guidelines for fan attendance at indoor high school sporting events

It's good news for parents who were worried they couldn't watch their children's games in-person.