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Red River coach Bill Chase placed on administrative leave hours before EDC tournament

Bill Chase stands behind the bench in a game in 2016. Herald File Photo.

Hours before the start of the Eastern Dakota Conference hockey tournament, Grand Forks Red River boys hockey head coach Bill Chase has been put on indefinite administrative leave, activities director Mark Rerick confirmed to the Herald.

Chase was informed of the decision by school administration on Tuesday morning. The players were told in a meeting at Red River High School on Tuesday as well.

When asked for the reasoning, Rerick said: “Nothing I can share at this time.” Rerick said the situation has developed “over the last couple of days.”

When asked whether the assistant coaches were still on staff, Rerick said administration is still working on that part.

Chase is only on leave from his position as the boys hockey coach, Rerick said, not from his position at South Middle School.

"My only comment is I let the administration work out whatever they need to," Chase said in a text message. "The kids and parents are great. Always have been and always will be."

Red River plays West Fargo at 4:30 p.m. today at Purpur Arena in the East Region quarterfinals.

Red River is 12-8 this season and the No. 4 seed in the East Region tournament.

While Grand Forks Central is the heavy favorite in the state, the Roughriders are expected to be among Central’s top challengers. Red River is the only team to stay within a goal of Central this season, losing 4-3 in overtime on Jan. 26.

Chase is in his 10th season as head coach at Red River. The Roughriders won state championships in 2011, 2013 and 2016 under Chase. The 2016 team was just the second in state history to go undefeated, finishing 27-0.

Chase was named North Dakota state coach of the year in 2013 and the All-USA boys hockey national coach of the year by USA Today in 2016.

Red River is the second top Eastern Dakota Conference school to make a move with a head coach in the last six days.

Fargo Davies coach Scott Petersen suddenly resigned Wednesday with one game left in the regular season. Petersen was in his third season at Davies.

He was replaced by longtime Fargo South boys hockey coach Dean Wilson. Wilson coached the Bruins from 1990-07, leading the Bruins to three state titles in 1994, 1999 and 2006.