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Mel Pearson Facing Accusations

from Katie Strang of The Athletic,

In responses to an anonymous survey of the University of Michigan men’s hockey program’s players and staff, coach Mel Pearson was accused of telling players to provide false information on COVID contact-tracing forms, of misleading recruits about how much scholarship money they would receive, and of allegedly calling one player a “Jew.” Pearson also displayed an “inability or unwillingness” to hold the team’s director of hockey operations accountable for conduct that included the “mistreatment of female staff members,” according to a separate investigative report.

In the survey and the investigative report, the latter of which was compiled at the behest of the university by law firm WilmerHale, several individuals said that they believed that Pearson forced Strauss Mann, a 2021 team captain and starting goaltender, to leave the program.

continued (paid)

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RWBill's avatar

The entire senior class also approached UM administrator Josh Richelew after the 2021-22 season to express their concerns, the report shows. The team made the Frozen Four before losing in the national semifinals to University of Denver.

“Senior student athletes on the hockey team told Mr. Richelew that (Pearson) would dock playing time for raising complaints and described their fears of suffering the same damage to their future careers that they believed (Pearson) had inflicted on Mr. Mann,” the report shows.

Doesn’t sound great.  Would be unfortunate for the program as it has reestablished itself as a national power, and has another good freshman class, but universities don’t overlook these things anymore, especially bullying of female staff members.  Nonetheless, it is Michigan, and another coach could quickly establish recruiting success.

It is telling that Michigan legendary goaltender Steve Shields raised concerns about behavior by Pearson and the staff to the University.  I’m sure he would not do that lightly.

Shields filed the complaint to UM’s Equity, Civil Rights and Title IX Office last fall, alleging that Pearson retaliated against him by firing him for reporting these allegations. While the investigators did not determine that Shields was retaliated against, they raised multiple concerns about the program related to Shields complaint.

Posted by RWBill on 08/02/22 at 11:55 AM ET


Bye Mel

Posted by pnwwing on 08/02/22 at 12:32 PM ET

RedMenace's avatar

He called a player a “Jew?”

Well, is the player Jewish?

One of, if not the only ethnic group where the same word is how they’re referred to normally as well as a slur.

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 08/02/22 at 12:56 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

He called a player a “Jew?”

Posted by RedMenace from A Tormented Hellscape on 08/02/22 at 12:56 PM ET

Yeah that needs more context.

Posted by RWBill on 08/02/22 at 01:00 PM ET

MurrayChadwick's avatar

The entire senior class also approached UM administrator Josh Richelew after the 2021-22 season to express their concerns, the report shows

1 or 2 players with gripes may be legit, or may be sour grapes over playing time or otherwise, but when a large group steps forward, that’s not good, even a group of today’s woke/entitled students from a school like a Michigan. 

The question I guess is, who coaches Michigan next year? If Pearson was fired for just about any other reason, I would suggest Babcock to be a logical phone call, but not now.

Posted by MurrayChadwick from Window Seat on the Captain's Ship on 08/02/22 at 01:33 PM ET


even a group of today’s woke/entitled students from a school like a Michigan. 

Give it a rest with that bs, for christ’s sake. What…do you know “the entire senior class”, ya fossil?

Posted by godblender on 08/02/22 at 01:55 PM ET


Yeah that needs more context.

Yeah, because that’s the really important part, not whether he lied to players, punished them for bringing up legit complaints, told them to lie to school officials on official school paperwork and tried to get players he didn’t like run out of school and blacklisted.

Cuz if he wasn’t being “mean” when he called someone a Jew, it’s all OK.

Posted by GMoney on 08/02/22 at 02:50 PM ET

RWBill's avatar

Cuz if he wasn’t being “mean” when he called someone a Jew, it’s all OK.

Posted by GMoney on 08/02/22 at 02:50 PM ET

LOLOL.  The remark was in context to what Red said lolol.  Has nothing to do with other allegations.

Posted by RWBill on 08/02/22 at 04:16 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

The report from the investigating agency is available online. I read through it due to personal and professional interest. Bear with me:

The report submitted did not talk about the scholarship money or “jew” comment and was primarily focused on if there was any violation of UM’s sex discrimination policy (in this case, women being bullied, disparate treatment, etc.).

Mel was NOT found to have violated the sex discrimination policy. In the report, they state Mel didn’t retaliate against Shields in relation to the sex discrimination complaints because Mel didn’t know about the sex discrimination complaints.

Mel really only had one incident where he was complained about bullying a female employee. The real issue was that Bancroft guy was an *#$%@&, and Mel SHOULD have done something about him, but complaints to HR went uninvestigated because the affected women did not come forward.

So, IMO, he gets off on technicalities.

The report wants the university to look into the rest of the program’s culture, which they talked about but did not make a determination on (remember, their focus was sex discrimination)

I think Mel rules that program, and people are afraid to speak up. The senior class that approached Richelew was 8 players. Strauss Mann was a central figure in the complaints, but retracted notes he submitted and didn’t interview in the complaint.

Everything considered, its insinuated Mel did retaliate against Shields because of COVID related complaints. There is a fear of retaliation for raising complaints throughout the program and I think its well grounded.

Posted by ilovehomers on 08/02/22 at 11:29 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

They didnt interview any players. No evidence was presented that any player was retaliated against other than Strauss:

Mr. Hall said Respondent told Mr. Mann he was welcome to come back the next season but would have to earn back the trust of his teammates and may not be captain or have much playing time relative to the team’s other goalie. Mr. Hall said that Mr. Mann became upset toward the end of the meeting and left the office area. Mr. Hall went to check on him to “make sure that he was okay as a person.” Mr. Hall said that he asked Mr. Mann if he wanted to return after a short break, but Mr. Mann was “visibly upset” and declined to come back to the office. Mr. Hall noted that Respondent was upset as well. Mr. Hall said he did not understand Respondent’s statements about the captaincy and playing time to be “retaliation against [Mr. Mann]” for raising complaints. Mr. Hall said he felt Respondent wanted to make sure Mr. Mann understood he could return the next season if he wanted to. Mr. Hall said that Respondent never said there would not be a place for Mr. Mann on the team the next year.

Posted by ilovehomers on 08/02/22 at 11:41 PM ET

TreKronor's avatar

Posted by ilovehomers on 08/02/22 at 11:41 PM ET

You work in HR somewhere?? wink

Appreciate the additional insight, I’m not going to read the report but there’s plenty to digest here.  Mel is certainly sounding like one of the “old-guard” types in the NHL.  He worked under Red for a number of years so it sort of makes you wonder what was going on before Mel became coach, or if he just went a little crazy once he got the keys.

Posted by TreKronor on 08/03/22 at 11:51 AM ET

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Welcome to Abel to Yzerman, a Red Wing blog since 1977.  No other site on the internet has better-researched, fact-laden and better prepared discussions than A2Y.  Re-phrase: we do little research, find facts and stats highly overrated and claim little to no preparation.  There are 19 readers of A2Y. No more, no less. All of them, except maybe one, are juvenile in nature.  Reminding them of that in the comment section will only encourage them to prove that. Your suggestions and critiques are welcome: wphoulihan@gmail.com

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