Windsor Minor Hockey Association president steps down – AM800 (iHeartRadio)

Windsor Minor Hockey Association president steps down - AM800 (iHeartRadio)
Windsor Minor Hockey president steps down, board members follow
WINDSOR — The president of the Windsor Minor Hockey Association has stepped down and several board members followed.

Dean Lapierre announced his resignation at a special board meeting Sunday night after executive vice-president Rick Pare was voted out.

I didnt want my time to end the way it did, but I walk away with my head held high, Lapierre tells CTV News.

The resignations follow controversy surrounding volunteer coach Stanley Trent Norris, who had an aggravated assault conviction in Florida in 2001.

Last week, two board members with WMHA resigned their positions over the presidents refusal to suspend Norris pending an investigation.

In a statement to CTV News, the OMHA says it follows a specific and detailed criminal record check policy within Canada, which applies to all OMHA members holding the title of team official.

The move comes in the midst of an OMHA investigation involving Stanley Norris, who came under scrutiny after a Windsor Star report revealed the now-suspended assistant coach has multiple outstanding warrants in Michigan and at least one felony conviction.

In an email to media Monday morning, Dean Lapierre said he resigned at a special board meeting held Sunday night. According to Lapierre, his resignation came immediately following the board's vote to remove Rick Pare as executive vice president. 

"I would not remain the President of the WMHA with out Rick Pare as my right hand man," said Lapierre. "I saw the writing on the wall."

Lapierre said he "knew he would be next," so he resigned before the board could remove him. He added five other board members resigned after he did, which is reflected on the WMHA's website. 

The former president has held his position since 1999, after joining the board in 1992. According to the association's website, the house director, equipment director, house vice president and the registrar board member positions are all currently unfilled.

The association has come under scrutiny over its handling of the Trent Norris situation. Norris, a peewee AA assistant coach, was suspended Friday by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) — which is investigating Norris's criminal record in the U.S.

Lapierre found out about Norris's criminal record at the end of October. He and then-vice president Pare felt Norris was no risk to children. 

According to Lapierre, Pare had already changed the declaration forms prospective coaches will fill out in the future.

"Hopefully this doesn't happen again in the future," said Lapierre, adding the new form would allow someone applying to be a coach to offer more details about criminal records. 

After 22 years as president, Lapierre said "it's the little things" that make up what he did as president for the association. 

"Now, whoever is moving into this spot … hopefully they can do a good job," said Lapierre. "I don't want to see Windsor Minor Hockey fail."

Lapierre said he hopes his years as president and the controversy around Norris don't mar all he's done for the association.

In 2017, Lapierre was suspended as president and ordered to complete a workshop with the Sexual Assault Crisis Centre after posting derogatory comments about women on social media.

"I know there's people that hate me. I was in this position 21 years. There's a lot of people who hate me for whatever reason — and I sleep fine at night," said Lapierre.

In a statement, the Windsor Minor Hockey Association said it's thankful to both Lapierre and Pare for their years of service. When contacted by CBC News, the board said it still needs to figure out how it's going to fill the vacant positions.

CBC News also reached out to both the OMHA and Hockey Canada for further comment — but did not receive a response.

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