Former coach pursuing removal of Grand Forks Youth Hockey Association executive director and board members

Feb. 23—GRAND FORKS — A former coach, serving a one-year ban from on-ice activities, is spearheading an effort to remove the Grand Forks Youth Hockey Association executive director and the organization's board members.

Scott Foyt, a former UND hockey player, sent an email Saturday, Feb. 17, 2024, to some GFYHA members outlining his concerns regarding Executive Director Brad Lucke and the board.

Foyt, who has two children in the youth hockey program, said the email, which included a 61-page PDF, was sent to GFYHA members in which he had contact information. Foyt also created an online petition to gather signatures, seeking support to remove the GFYHA leaders. In addition to Lucke, board members include President Erik Fabian, Jeff Groven, Shaun Endres, Jordan McIntyre, Cassie Scheving, Chuck Jacobi and Jennifer Schulz.

As of Friday afternoon, the petition had 119 signatures.

According to the petition, Foyt wrote "the current GFYHA Board members have been failing in their duties and responsibilities. Their actions and decisions have not been in the best interest of the community they serve or the mission they claim to uphold."

When reached for this story, Lucke said his organization was willing to provide information but, due to the possibility of litigation, has been advised "to clear all communication through our attorney."

In an email, provided by Foyt, the GFYHA Board of Directors notified Foyt on Dec. 13, 2023, he wouldn't be allowed to coach during the 2023-24 hockey season due to his actions toward Lucke on Nov. 30, 2023.

At issue, Foyt said, was the tryout process for a 10-and-under girls hockey team coached by Foyt.

After the GFYHA Board of Directors banning decision, Foyt claimed a USA Hockey bylaw was broken by not offering a formal hearing. He then contacted the North Dakota Amateur Hockey Association regarding the dispute.

According to an email provided by Foyt, NDAHA President Matt Stockert concluded the "GFYHA did not follow the Rule 10 process by offering a hearing to Mr. Foyt after he was told that his services were no longer needed for coaching. Based on this finding, and taking into consideration GFYHA's satisfactory history in dealing with similar matters, the committee recommends placing GFYHA on probation. During this probation, if there is another instance, similar in comparison in which GFYHA is found to have not followed proper procedure, GFYHA will then be subject to penalties imposed onto them by the NDAHA."

During the NDAHA hearing, the GFYHA Board on Jan. 18 wrote, according to a copy of the email provided by Foyt, that Foyt's "personal attacks and aggressive behavior towards GFYHA staff and board members will not be tolerated. Foyt is not an appropriate representative of the association."

Foyt, who spoke to the Herald on Thursday afternoon, said he is pursuing legal action. Foyt is a licensed attorney in Minnesota, he said.

"The next step would be to file a lawsuit," Foyt said. "There's a statutory mechanism in the North Dakota Century Code which allows for the process. You need 10 percent support to hold a nonprofit leadership accountable. If they're not willing to step down, I have no choice but to move forward under that approach. I'd like to get it filed as soon as possible, but I'm not going to put a specific timeframe on it."

Foyt said his mission is for gender equality.

"Personally, I don't care if I coach again, but what I'm shooting for is a change in approach for the girls program," Foyt said. "I don't need to be on the board. I need a board to do things for girls that they do for the boys. That's the crux of the whole issue."

Foyt said he isn't seeking financial support for the litigation moving forward.

"The only thing I need is support," Foyt said. "Everything else is my dime. I will pursue it. I'm asking parents to sign (the petition); I'm not asking for money from the parents."