Jail Sentence For Man Blamed For Death of Minnesota Hockey Coach
St. Paul, MN (KROC-AM News) - The man convicted of causing the death of a respected Minnesota high school hockey coach has been sentenced to a year in jail and seven years on probation.
46-year-old Ryan Whisler previously entered a guilty plea to a first-degree manslaughter charge in exchange for the dismissal of a second-degree murder charge. The St. Paul man also faces a stayed 86-month prison sentence that he could be ordered to serve if he fails to meet the terms of his probation.
Whisler was arrested in April 2021 after St. Paul police responded to a report of an assault at a local bar. According to the criminal complaint, 48-year-old Michael Ryan was found lying on his back in a pool of blood at the bottom of a flight of stairs. It was determined that he had suffered a fatal head injury.
The charges against Whisler say the two men had been involved in a verbal altercation inside the bar over social distancing during the pandemic and the dispute reignited outside the establishment. It was alleged that Whisler pulled a face mask off the victim before he punched him in the face, which caused him to fall down the stairs.
The court document says the deadly incident was recorded on a surveillance camera video. A description of the video recording indicates it shows Whisler pushing the victim toward the stairs.
Ryan was disconnected from life support the following day and died from his injuries.
He was the head coach of the Bloomington Jefferson High School girls hockey team and was previously involved in coaching boys youth and high school hockey.