Stories about: Sharon Chirban

Coaches and alcohol: young athletes need leaders, not friends

A Massachusetts high school hockey coach is under investigation following allegations that underage drinking took place in his team’s locker room, possibly with his consent. Dale Dunbar—long-time coach of the Winthrop hockey team and former pro-hockey player—is currently on administrative leave while police and school officials review surveillance tapes to see if he, or other members of the coaching staff, provided teenage players with alcohol or had knowledge of their drinking after a tough season-ending loss in a state tournament.

A police officer driving by the rink noticed that on the night of the big loss there were several lights on and a suspicious amount of movement inside the rink, especially considering it was practically midnight. When he entered the rink’s locker room, he found team members and two coaches, along with empty beer cans. The officer said he smelled alcohol in the air, but he did not report seeing any minors drinking.

The actual events of that night, and whether or not Dunbar violated any laws, will no doubt come to light as the investigation continues. In the meantime, the media coverage around the story could have some parents wondering about the behavior of their own kids’ coaches.

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