USA Hockey, University of Minnesota Sued over Alleged Sexual Abuse by Ex-Coach

Adam WellsMay 13, 2021

WINNIPEG, MB - FEBRUARY 02: Some hockey pucks sit in the empty net during the pre-game warm up prior to NHL action between the Calgary Flames and the Winnipeg Jets at Bell MTS Place on February 02, 2021 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images

USA Hockey, the University of Minnesota and the Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois (AHAI) are being sued by multiple men who say they were sexually abused by youth hockey coach Thomas Adrahtas.

Per The Athletic's Katie Strang, the federal lawsuit will be filed this week and alleges that "individuals in positions of authority and multiple governing bodies failed to protect players from sexual abuse, molestation and unwanted touching, despite concerns, warnings and complaints about Adrahtas’ conduct."

Citing the lawsuit, Strang wrote that former University of Minnesota athletic director Paul Giel, the school's board of regents and former AHAI president Jim Smith were made aware of concerns about Adrahtas. 

Giel, who was Minnesota's athletic director from 1971 to 1989, died in 2002 at the age of 69. Smith was named president of USA Hockey in 2015.

In May 2020, Strang reported USA Hockey hired an independent investigator to look into concerns about Smith's handling of sexual abuse allegations made against Adrahtas.

Per Ryan Faircloth of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the investigation found that former members of Minnesota's athletic department knew about multiple allegations involving Adrahtas between 1984 and 1985 but didn't act on them. 

Strang initially reported on the allegations against Adrahtas in February 2020, which included the accounts of six former players. 

The accusations dated back to the 1980s and continued through at least 2003. 

Per the lawsuit, Adrahtas “carried out his sexual assault under the guise of providing mentorship, with the promises of furthering Plaintiffs’ hockey careers, while the Defendants and numerous hockey organizations allowed him to continue to operate from a position of authority and power.”

Adrahtas spent the 1984-85 season as head coach for the Minnesota men's hockey team. He also worked at Robert Morris University before resigning amid an investigation by SafeSport, per Strang.