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Maple Grove hockey coach breaks silence over removal

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A day after reports that he would no longer be hockey coach for Maple Grove High School, coach Gary Stefano is breaking his silence over the decision handed to him last month by the school district, KARE-TV reports.

In an interview with KARE, Stefano said he got a letter from the district Feb. 19 that told him that his contract would not be renewed. He also indicated that he wasn't given a reason why.

Stefano was briefly put on administrative leave but reinstated as head coach in January, after 13 players on the varsity team were suspended earlier in the season over an off-ice incident that violated the Minnesota State High School League’s code of conduct.

Citing data privacy issues, the school district has declined to discuss details of the incident.

The school held a news conference in January, but would not answer any questions whether the players' suspensions were over a purported sex tape, the Star Tribune reports.

Stefano told KARE that he let didn't let his players know that he was out as head coach until after the team's season-ending loss Wednesday night.

"I didn't want to have any more disruptions," Stefano told KARE. "The kids went through enough."

Stefano has been a hockey coach for 30 years -- 17 of them at Maple Grove High School.

Stefano told KARE that he will retain his position as junior high health and gym teacher in the district.

See Stefano's interview with KARE below.

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