Minnesota hockey coach dies after being punched outside bar in social distancing dispute: report

Bloomington Jefferson High School mourning death of coach Michael Ryan

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Minnesota man is facing a second-degree murder charge after allegedly punching a high school hockey coach outside a bar in a dispute over social distancing rules, causing him to hit his head on concrete and suffer a brain injury, which he later died from, a report says. 

The Bloomington Jefferson High School girl’s hockey team is now mourning the death of 48-year-old Michael Ryan. The suspect in the case, Ryan Whisler, turned himself in to the St. Paul Police Department on Sunday -- the same day Ryan’s life support was removed, according to the Star Tribune

"With great sadness, we announce the passing of our head coach, Mike Ryan," the team tweeted. "He will be dearly missed by his wife and daughters and the Bloomington hockey community." 

MINNESOTA MAN WHO FLED WITH OFFICER CLINGING TO TRUCK AFTER ALLEGED MASK-RELATED ASSAULT FACES FELONY CHARGES 

"Please keep them in your prayers as they begin to mourn his loss," the message added. 

The Ramsey County Attorney's Office charged Whisler, 44, with second-degree murder on Monday, the Star Tribune reports. 

The incident that led to Ryan’s death reportedly happened around 11 p.m. Saturday at Herbie’s on the Park in St. Paul. 

A criminal complaint states that inside the bar’s bathroom, Whisler first punched a hole into a barrier set up at the urinals to encourage social distancing and then filmed himself urinating into it, the Star Tribune reports. 

Ryan was a coach at Bloomington Jefferson High School.

Ryan was a coach at Bloomington Jefferson High School. (Google Maps)

Later, Ryan called Whisler out for his actions as the two were leaving the establishment, the newspaper added. 

The complaint says Whisler then pulled Ryan’s face mask off and grabbed his shirt, while witnesses tried to separate the two, according to the Star Tribune.  

Witnesses told investigators that Whisler eventually punched Ryan in the face, causing him to fall backward and hit his head on concrete at the bottom of a staircase, the complaint reportedly said. 

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A friend of Ryan’s that called the police said Whisler then fled in a vehicle before returning to the scene to retrieve an object from the stairs, before fleeing a second time, the Star Tribune reports, citing the complaint. 

The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled that Ryan’s cause of death was a traumatic brain injury.