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Daily Dish: Did USA Hockey Protect a Predator? - Junior Hockey News

Published: Friday, 16 Nov 2012
By: Stephen Heisler  |  Web site: JuniorHockey.com

The news of Wednesday night's arrest of Massachusetts Maple Leafs Coach and General Manager Anthony DeSilva did not come as much of a surprise to a number of former players and associates that know him. One parent is even claiming that USA Hockey officials where aware of the coach's behavior and has the documentation to back it up.

This from the published article

A junior hockey league coach in Southeastern Massachusetts was arrested this week on charges that he tried to seduce two 16-year-old Florida boys online.


Massachusetts State Police troopers, working with New Bedford police officers and sheriff's deputies from Polk County, Fla., arrested Anthony DeSilva, 41, Wednesday evening at his home at 23 Fairfield St., Acushnet, said Gregg Miliote, spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney's Office.

According to the report, DeSilva sent naked images of himself to an undercover Polk County Sheriff's deputy posing as a 16 year-old boy. DeSilva also graphically described what he wanted to do with the boy.

Rumors of DeSilva's inappropriate behavior have been circulated for years. During last year's scandal (article here)  in regards to the Chicago Hitmen, DeSilva's name was brought up again and again. There is a confirmed connection between DeSilva and former Hitmen coach Brent Agrusa. Agrusa brought DeSilva to the training camp of one of the teams he was coaching at the time. "There was an obvious friendship between the two," said an anonymous mutual acquaintance.

The father of former Mass Leafs player Alex Rivers reported DeSilva's inappropriate behavior to USA Hockey officials. A number of complaints were sexual in nature.  The following are a few quotes taken from a email sent to league attorney Allan Charlap;

I have attached the text messages I obtained from my son's phone. He does speak of a player helping him kill himself in these.  Unfortunately Alex had deleted some. The ones containing information about, cuddling, wanting to see you, etc.  I hope you can understand how hard this has been for Alex to deal with.  It took him a while before he could even tell anyone about what was happening. His instant reaction was to delete and ignore these messages along with what was happening in hopes it would stop.

 

In the situation where Coach De Silva crawled into bed with Alex, it was during an IJ Showcase in Exeter, NH the weekend of September 17, 2010 . Teams played were Kodiaks, Blackhawks and Cubs possibly others as well.  Another player was in the room when this occurred, his name is Demetrius Polk. This wasn't a situation that was kept quite either, at least 10 players knew about it as Alex was jokingly being picked on after that about Tony wanting to cuddle with Alex. During visits to Alex's apartment in MA and speaking with players and his roommates it was very apparent all the players felt Coach De Silva was a bit of a creep.

 

I talked with Rivers on Thursday about the situation and he felt it would be appropriate to speak freely.

"DeSilva provided alcohol to players and got drunk on the team bus while he was driving to Minnesota," Rivers said.  "DeSilva would often just show up at the apartment in the middle of the night. He was a great hockey coach and that is why players stuck around. The odd behavior was looked past. The players knew that he had some serious mental problems, he threatened to commit suicide on multiple occasions."

On a number of occasions DiSilva talked about his good friend Brent Agrusa and his ability to move players to Agrusa's North American Hockey League team in Chicago. "Coach (DiSilva) would refer to Chicago all the time," Rivers said. "Agrusa was definitely used as a lure to keep players around."

"A lot of the players that are on the team now were there when I was there." Rivers concluded with this. "I will stand up for the team and for all the players that lives have been affected by DiSilva."

Meanwhile the Mass Maple Leafs program may have played their last game according to the Eastern States Hockey League's Sarge Richards. "DeSilva is pretty much a one-man show up there," Richards said today. "We are trying to get in touch with the other coach but have been unable to make contact. Regardless, the league will have to quickly address the issue and gauge the ability of the team to move forward. If they are unable, we will have to adjust the schedule accordingly."

I have a number of serious questions for USA Hockey. When allegations of this nature are brought forward, what are the standard procedures? We are talking about a coach with teams at multiple levels of play. This includes players as young as 15 years old. Was Rivers' information passed onto authorities in Massachusetts?

These are questions that every hockey team owner, staff member, player, and parents needs to demand answers to. We should all applaud Alex Rivers for having the courage to come forward and we should make sure that players always have an avenue to report abuse of any nature.

I'm tired of this crap. It's time that we all stand together against all sexual predators and need to develop a better system to protect these athletes. 

**Additional Info**

This email was sent to Dave Orgrean, USA Hockey's Executive Director and CC's to just about everyone else with authority in Colorado Springs.

To: daveo@usahockey.org

Monday, January 24, 2011

Cc: michelea@usahockey.org, nancyc@usahockey.org, artb@usahockey.org, judieb@usahockey.org, marcb@usahockey.org, danb@usahockey.org, matthewc@usahockey.org, joed@usahockey.org, helenf@usahockey.org, kimf@usahockey.org,jimj@usahockey.org, mattl@usahockey.org, kenm@usahockey.org, kevinm@usahockey.org, jodiep@usahockey.org, alisonr@usahockey.org, kenr@usahockey.org, bjr@usahockey.org, markt@usahockey.org, louv@usahockey.org,  ind002@earthlink.com

Dear Dave,

My name is David Rivers, we have been playing phone tag for the last month or so. I apologize and have decided to drop you an email instead. I have a 19 year old son, Alex Rivers who has been playing on the Mass Maple Leafs this season under Tony DeSilva. I have had some very disturbing information come my way in the recent weeks.

Tony has acted BEYOND inappropriate with my son and numerous other players this season. I have numerous text messages from Tony to Alex making insinuations that he would be committing suicide. This has happened on numerous occasions! 

He has crawled in his bed on a road trip and asked him to "cuddle" while sticking Alex's fingers in his mouth. Followed by numerous late night calls & texts wanting to see Alex while he had been drinking, saying things like "I wanta see you" "I would like to cuddle, you don't like to cuddle?", "you don't get freaked out easily do you?", "wanna drink some beers?" When Alex has questioned him and said "what's wrong with you? are you ok?" Tony's response was "Yeah just ****** up!"

He has drank beer while driving the team bus, has players stay in his room on trips, slaps their genitals in the locker room. 

Another disturbing story I have heard from my son as well as other players took place while on a trip, the team stopped at a sports/hockey store. He proceeded to make all the players get off the bus and remove all clothing that said Mass Maple Leafs prior to going into the store. Numerous boys were confused and wondering "what could be going on?" As they proceed into the store they noticed one of the boys was limping?? While walking into the store a lady working there said "oooo are you injured?" the player responded "yes my knee." He wasn't injured. After the boys got back on the bus and saw other players pulling THOUSANDS of dollars worth of equipment out of their clothes while laughing with Tony, they realized why Tony wanted their jerseys off so nobody would have the team name if they realized they had just been ROBBED!! The limping boy was just preparing for walking out with a hockey stick down his pants.

I am just disgusted and beside myself. I have removed my son from the team and taken him back to North Carolina. I have sent Tony a email as well requesting the balance of my account refunded to me, as it is paid in full for the season. My son has been involved with USA Hockey for years and I have always been confident the coaches involved in this organization were stand up men, good role models and mentors. I am really questioning how a man like this can sneak into such a great organization? 

I am writing to you hoping this will get to someone who can put a end to this behavior before this man seriously hurts one of these players or someone else. He has NO business being around these impressionable young men. I have worked very hard over the years to have a close relationship with my son and thankfully he came to me prior to a tragedy I could not repair. My fear is the young men who do not have the same type of relationship with their parents, and become victim to this predator. 

Sincerely,

David Rivers

JuniorHockey.com is the premier website dedicated to delivering the latest news and developing stories from junior hockey across North America, as well as providing online tools for junior hockey players and prospects. With over 225,000 views each month Juniorhockey.com is the internet's leading source of junior hockey news and information. 

Stephen Heisler resides in Puerto Penasco, Mexico with his wife, Maria, and their two children, Sonia and Tomas. Tune in to his Mexico based Classic Rock Station, GoPenasco Radio.








Discuss:

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 1:28am
Cory Deeds-Rookstool says:
This situation is truly disturbing. USA Hockey continues to prove that they care less about the players and more about their image and by doing so hurt their image even more. This situation should've been handled when they were made aware of it almost two years ago. This entity should've been removed from the team immediately and a full investigation completed but instead it got to the point where the cops got involved. The lack of action on USA Hockey's part, in my opinion, makes them accessories to any crimes committed after they were informed.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 7:52am
Joe MacConnell says:
Who owns this team? Where is the owner? What the hell is wrong with this freak.. I would like to hope that USAH would put this on the top of the list and make sure this is figured out NOW.... Nothing else should matter when situations like this are brought to the attention until figured out.. If parents can not send their sons to a location and know they are being treated with respect and in a safe situation, then the junior hockey community in general is at fault. Hockey is a small community and this can NEVER happen, but since it happened its needs to taken care of and this person needs to be sent to prison.. Not just move on like business as normal, because of this freak it's no longer business as normal in the Junior hockey world.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 9:17am
Erik Blase says:
I do believe he is the owner of the team as well as the coach and GM.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 10:36am
Christian Poulsen says:
Disturbing but not all that surprised...question is is what rock is the next abomination gonna crawl out from...personaly am curious, and does anybody remember if this piece of #@%& was hanging with the Chicago Hitmen (NA) guys scouting the Tier III Junior Nationals in Boston the spring of 2010?...i forget faces and names but rarely forget a smell

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 10:54am
Stephen Heisler says:
Christian,
Very likely.

Stephen

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 11:07am
Bill Smith says:
I feel for the kids and parents involved with this situation. Those in charge need to be held accountable if this was swept under the rug. If it was not addressed when reported then Dave Orgrean should be held accountable to the same level as was the case with those involved with the Penn State scandel.

USA Hockey needs to be held accountable. A complete joke of an organization. Only concerned about the elite few the others are just "paying the bill".


posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 1:09pm
Stephen Heisler says:
Here comes the mainstream media...
http://www.heraldnews.com/newsnow/x1978603622/Arrest

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 3:35pm
Grant Trayner says:
Sounds like another Graham James.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 5:08pm
Stephen Heisler says:

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 5:27pm
Christian Poulsen says:
Good job to the Rivers, to the cops, to Stephen and the media and any involved that brought this to light...
...Im sure many from coast to coast have heard from this guy if you save emails or have a better memory than myself...
...the smell wasn't going away so went back to 10', 11' and this last 2012 invites for camps, showcases, tournaments and tryouts back Northeast...have several invites from this alleged piece of @$&* along with our replys of "thx but no thx" and "its" replys back...so gonna go shower again to wash the stench off before the pucks start droping.



posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 5:35pm
Stephen Heisler says:

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 6:38pm
Stephen Heisler says:

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 7:33pm
Doug Connor says:
....."I'm tired of this crap. It's time that we all stand together against all sexual predators and need to develop a better system to protect these athletes" Really? If my kid comes home and said his coach is "getting too friendly", I'm calling the cops!! That's the only system that we need. This clown would have been locked up a long time ago.

After Penn State and Sandusky, I think there has been enough awareness raised about this issue. Again, I can't imagine what the parents of Sandusky's victims are feeling but, I still don't know why the cops weren't called first.

Bottom line people, God Forbid you ever have to experience this first hand, call the COPS!

And Stephen, once again, this story is missing one element; "The rest of the story".

Have you reached out to USAH for a comment? If not, then this latest dish is a bit "under cooked".




posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 7:45pm
Doug Connor says:
Like Bill Smith said, "USAH is a joke" and I am in no way giving USAH any "out" here but, Stephen, stop trying to be the "Al Sharpton" of the hockey world. Your propensity to have a "quick trigger" is eventually going to turn off some readers. I know this site is opinion based, but, I think you owe it to your audience to be more thorough.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 7:56pm
Doug Connor says:
Like Bill Smith said, "USAH is a joke" and I am in no way giving USAH any "out" here but, Stephen, stop trying to be the "Al Sharpton" of the hockey world. Your propensity to have a "quick trigger" is eventually going to turn off some readers. I know this site is opinion based, but, I think you owe it to your audience to be more thorough.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 8:05pm
Stephen Heisler says:
Doug,
What in the hell are you trying to say? USA Hockey was too busy pulling their pants back up to respond until late today.

Obviously, they elected to not respond to me.

Do you want to know what is really pissing me off? It's the folks that are defending the leadership of the Eastern States Hockey League and USA Hockey.

They put all the pressure on a young player instead of doing the right thing and turning over the allegations to law enforcement officials in the Mass Leafs' community. I've talked to numerous parents of Mass Leafs' players that are irate with USA Hockey.

...more thorough?

I did the best I could while holding back the gag reflex. The fact that USA Hockey had the transcripts of the text message exchanges yet allowed DeSilva to continue is freaking mind numbing.

Really Doug, I'm pretty irritated with you right now.


posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 9:24pm
Doug Connor says:
Stephen,

Why did the allegations have to go anywhere but to the local police precinct.

And Steven, a simple disclaimer that you reached out to USAH for comment would have gone a long way in giving the story the "bite" that you intended it to have.

The allegations alone make me want to see USAH go the way of the "twinkie", but I think we all know that's not happening so quickly. (Com'mon AAU, make your move!)

So, I feel a retraction or an apology of/for my comments is called for in this instance but, I still maintain that I find, at times, you have a quick trigger.

Having said that,if his guy, DiSilva is indeed found guilty, I'll shine the light while you pull the trigger.

posted Nov. 16th, 2012 - 11:44pm
Stephen Heisler says:
The only USA Hockey Official that went on record was ESHL commish Sarge Richards...and that made the story.

**Meanwhile the Mass Maple Leafs program may have played their last game according to the Eastern States Hockey League's Sarge Richards. "DeSilva is pretty much a one-man show up there," Richards said today. "We are trying to get in touch with the other coach but have been unable to make contact. Regardless, the league will have to quickly address the issue and gauge the ability of the team to move forward. If they are unable, we will have to adjust the schedule accordingly."**

For the first time in the 5+ years that I've know Sarge, the dude flat out lied to me, denying that he had any knowledge of problems with DeSilva. He later did a 180 and said he conducted the investigation...to another media outlet.

Well Sarge lost a friend today. As far as trying to pass himself off as a investigator, I am of the opinion that his leadership directly enabled DeSilva's continued pattern of behavior.

Another Updated Article-

http://www.enterprisenews.com/topstories/x1978603474

posted Nov. 17th, 2012 - 12:33am
Christian Poulsen says:
Just stareing at this blankly after watching the Fox clip interview (5 times now) of the guy at the rink...left me dumbfounded and speechless

posted Nov. 17th, 2012 - 6:41pm
Stephen Heisler says:
Check out USA Hockey's response here...

http://www.southcoasttoday.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article

So the safety of every player on the program is not worth more than a few days of effort... What a pile of crap.

posted Nov. 18th, 2012 - 12:15pm
Bill Smith says:
Stephen,

That is cause USAH only cares about the elite few. A totally inept organization.

posted Nov. 19th, 2012 - 6:35pm
Doug Connor says:
Three words for you, Bill..... Amateur Athletic Union

posted Nov. 21st, 2012 - 10:03am
Stephen Heisler says:

posted Oct. 31st, 2013 - 9:25am
Jeffrey Durante says:
USA Hockey - Are they helping or hurting our kids?

Sure, we receive that USA Hockey Magazine in exchange for the millions of dollars they make, but where are they when you have a real hockey problem?
As I continue on this hockey journey, I am finding that our children do not have voices. Many of us have begun sharing our negative USA Hockey stories, and it paints a very scary picture.

Players are sometimes bullied by coaches and referees can do and say anything they please to have a player ejected and suspended for any amount of time. Sure you are granted a hearing - a one-sided hearing where you are told that if you say anything negative about a coach or referee your life will be made miserable. The player is humiliated in front of a board of men and told to apologize no matter what his or her story is. Don't consider a lawyer because your player would be banned from USA Hockey preventing them from ever playing travel hockey again. Even submitting video proof and/or text messages will not help your case because it is not accepted and will not be viewed. I wonder if the same would be true if a player was busted on video.

USA Hockey is an emotionally abusive organization. They are as arrogant and spiteful as they come.
If you have not yet had the pleasure of dealing with USA Hockey, rest assured that if you find yourself needing their guidance or help, you will not receive it.

posted Oct. 31st, 2013 - 10:06am
Brad Szottlinger says:
Grant Trayner writes:
Sounds like another Graham James.



Perhaps similar but difficult to say without all the facts coming out. Rumors surrounding James were around the WHL for years prior to everything coming to light. The same was true as far as rumors were concerned for a relatively openly gay Brian Shaw in Portland. The problem during that time was the appropriate steps were never taken by the league to adequately investigate the rumors. That may well be the case here and probably because USAH doesn’t have adequate structure in place to deal with this type of issue.


posted Nov. 1st, 2013 - 9:11pm
Sue Abate Durante says:
This coach should never see the light of day again. I hope every player affected by this sues USAHOCKEY.
They are eager to take our money, but refuse to help our kids. This is a tragedy.

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