Dennis Williams, head coach of the Everett Silvertips, during the game against the Saskatoon Blades at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on November 22, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Dennis Williams, head coach of the Everett Silvertips, during the game against the Saskatoon Blades at Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett on November 22, 2019. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Silvertips head coach Williams accused, cleared of misconduct

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and WHL both independently investigated the 43-year-old after complaints alleging inappropriate behavior.

Two separate investigations into allegations of misconduct made against Everett Silvertips head coach and general manager Dennis Williams cleared the 43-year-old of any wrongdoing, the organization announced Sunday.

The U.S. Center for SafeSport and the Western Hockey League received complaints against Williams by an unnamed individual and former Silvertips equipment manager Damon Pugerude.

“The Everett Silvertips and CSH International were fully cooperative in both the Western Hockey League’s and U.S. Center for SafeSport’s independent inquiry into GM/HC Dennis Williams, as was Mr. Williams himself,” Silvertips Chief Operating Office Zoran Rajcic said in a statement. “After substantive review, we have been informed that the review is closed and Dennis Williams has been cleared by both organizations.”

Williams declined to comment on the investigations.

In a document obtained by The Sports Network of the complaint made to the U.S. Center for SafeSport, an organization created in 2017 by the U.S. Olympic Committee to investigate allegations of misconduct in amateur sports, the unnamed individual alleged that several players raised concerns that Williams used player showers and came out wearing only a towel while they were in the adjoining dressing room.

The complaint also alleged that in 2021 Williams “walked into the bathroom while (a) player was losing consciousness following VO2 max testing. Dennis took a photo of the player on his phone while the player was on the bathroom floor and walked out, leaving the player unconscious on the bathroom floor.”

A VO2 max test is an endurance test performed on a treadmill or bike while connected to a machine capable of analyzing how much oxygen you use as you exercise and determines the maximal oxygen you can consume during exercise.

The complaint also alleged that a “fighting ring” took place involving players during training camp in 2021.

Pugerude told TSN he made a complaint to the WHL’s Player Advisory Council alleging players were “uncomfortable with Williams using their shower and coming out wearing only a towel.”

The WHL Player Advisory Council is a committee formed by the league to independently investigate allegations of bullying, harassment and other forms of misconduct.

Pugerude told TSN he believes he was fired this summer by the Silvertips because he reported the alleged misconduct.

“This week, the WHL completed a series of investigations in response to allegations made by former Everett Silvertips equipment manager Damon Pugerude,” WHL commissioner Ron Robison said in a statement. “Conducted by Kevan Stuart, WHL Head of Security, these investigations found no evidence to support any of the allegations made by Mr. Pugerude. The investigations also concluded that Mr. Williams did not violate WHL conduct policies.”

Williams is entering his seventh season as Silvertips head coach and third as general manager. Williams also coached Team Canada to a gold medal at the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships.

The Silvertips open their season on Sept. 23 with a game against the Victoria Royals at Angel of the Winds Arena.

“We appreciate (the) thoroughness in this process and remain committed to providing a safe environment for our players,” Rajcic said.

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