On May 2, a vote was held to elect the new board of directors of the Colorado Amateur Hockey Association (CAHA). The state’s USA Hockey affiliate oversees approximately 9,500 youth players, including about 372 who compete nationally in the elite Tier 1 Level. The organization operates with a budget around $600,000 and had been embroiled in a heated battle over its operations for several months. The board election had been long overdue, with the previous one held in 2019, a breach of the affiliate agreement with USA Hockey.
CAHA’s recent controversies centered around Peter Schaffer, a well-known sports agent who had been serving as CAHA’s volunteer general counsel for about a decade. With mounting scrutiny and concerns about governance and operational issues, Schaffer had aggressively defended the previous regime, a move that USA Hockey called out.
Last year, the Littleton, Co.-based Aces Hockey Academy, a CAHA member, began requesting the organization’s financial records and board minutes, followed by hiring an accounting firm, RubinBrown, which found multiple inconsistencies and potential conflicts of interest in CAHA’s books. RubinBrown’s report raised questions about how CAHA accounted for the million-plus dollars generated through a charity raffle run with the Colorado Avalanche’s parent company’s philanthropic arm, Kroenke Sports.
CAHA’s executive board, including its longtime president Randy Kanai, were ousted at the recent board election after delegates of a specially tasked USA Hockey oversight committee oversaw the proceedings.
USA Hockey received a copy of RubinBrown’s report and announced plans to retain a separate accounting firm to conduct a forensic audit of CAHA. Schaffer launched a counter-investigation on behalf of CAHA’s executive board, which saw him demand that Brooke Wilfley, the Aces owner, turn over her electronic devices to a third-party to determine if she made any defamatory comments about the executive board members. Wilfley had previously sought whistleblower protections and accused Schaffer of retaliating against her, which he denied.
Schaffer had no legal authority when requesting Wilfley’s records and devices but had been involved with CAHA pro bono work for about a decade. USA Hockey’s executive director, Pat Kelleher, stated that it was engaging in a forensic audit due to “reports made about CAHA’s operations.” Schaffer’s aggressive tactics have added to CAHA’s problems, raising questions about why an NFL agent was taking such an interest in a kids’ hockey program. He stated that he is doing it for the right reasons and that he is the only person involved who derives no revenue from hockey.
As Schaffer defended the previous regime, USA Hockey had concerns over governance and operations. In recent months CAHA’s financial records have been scrutinized, and RubinBrown found inconsistencies in CAHA’s books that raised questions. At a recent board election, the previous board was removed, including longtime president Randy Kanai.