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It’s one thing when it happens by mistake. But when Farmington senior goaltender Austin Krause slid the puck into his own team’s net Tuesday night against Chaska, he did it on purpose. It tied the game and contributed to an eventual defeat on a night dedicated to the team’s seniors.
But he wasn’t done. As Krause skated off the home team ice, he tossed off a glove and thrust an obscene gesture toward his team bench, in apparent defiance of his coaches in a dispute about playing time.
It was all recorded on video by a classmate, apparently at Krause’s urging, and it ignited the Internet on Wednesday with one of the strangest Minnesota hockey stories to emerge in years.
The Farmington School District was not pleased. By mid-afternoon a spokesman said Krause was no longer on the team.
The district said in a statement that the incident was “shared widely on the Internet,” where the original video drew thousands of page views before it was taken off YouTube. Copies of it continued to surface throughout the day. The story raced to the most-read spot on websites, including Deadspin, and set off comment streams that alternately vilified the act and lauded the player for speaking his mind.
The episode “has had an immediate and dramatic impact on the Farmington boys’ hockey team and the entire Farmington community,’’ the statement said. “The district is taking the proper steps to investigate the incident and will take appropriate action in line with school policy.’’
Messages left at what was believed to be Krause’s home were not answered. A Twitter account in his name includes a posting Wednesday about him receiving a 10-day suspension, although it does not specify what from. Another says, “Thanks to everyone for being there, I think the coaches are dumbfounded on what happen:)’’
On a Facebook page in Krause’s name, there are indications that he was unhappy with his coaches about his playing time and had discussed his goal-making plans with teammates ahead of time.
The 13-second video shows Krause retrieving a puck behind his net, skating to the crease while “pushing the puck into the Farmington net and then leaving the game with a show of unsportsmanlike gestures,’’ the district statement said.
The video shows Krause removing a hockey glove, thrusting his right hand overhead and pointing his middle finger at his team’s bench, then skating off the ice through an open door near a corner of the rink.
The mother of a Farmington student who filmed the incident said her son was told by Krause to “have your phone ready’’ at the game. Jodi Kelly said her son, Alex, was told by Krause, “I want you to do this for me.”
Kelly said school administrators called her Wednesday morning and asked that the video be taken down, which the family did. She said her son is not a member of the hockey team.
“We’ve heard there has been some drama within the team the entire season. So in [Alex’s] mind, he was being a loyal friend to a friend who felt he was wronged,” Kelly said. “As a parent you’re torn. I wish he wouldn’t have shared the video. There are more productive ways this situation could have been handled. It’s unfortunate.”
Farmington was leading Chaska 2-1 with 3:13 left in the game when Krause scored. Chaska scored again less than a minute later and won 3-2.
Chaska coach Dave Snuggerud said, “What I saw is what everyone else saw. It’s unfortunate. I talked to my players right after the game about what’s important in life. It’s not a hockey game on Feb. 12, it’s about playing the game with character.”
Jim Skelly, the Farmington district’s communications and marketing coordinator, said in an interview that Krause “will no longer be a member of the team” but did not specify if he quit or was dismissed.
David La Vaque • 612-673-7574