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    Winthrop hockey coaches suspended in alcohol flap

    Two Winthrop High School boys’ hockey coaches were suspended after police found empty beer cans in the team’s locker room, authorities said Wednesday.

    An officer on patrol just before midnight Friday saw people running in and out of the locker room of Larsen Rink, where the team plays and practices, police said.

    When the officer entered the locker room, he found discarded beer cans and smelled alcohol, but did not see anyone drinking, said Police Chief Terence Delehanty.

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    Team members and the two coaches were present when the officer arrived, police said.

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    The team had returned from a match at O’Brien Arena in Woburn a few hours earlier, where they lost by one goal to Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School, said Winthrop’s director of athletics, Peter Gobiel. The team finished the season with a 15-6 record.

    Police are investigating the incident, which could result in charges of providing alcohol to a minor and underage drinking if the investigation finds that players were drinking.

    Coaches drinking with team members is a violation of Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association rules that could lead to termination, said Delehanty.

    Winthrop School Superintendent John Macero confirmed that there is an investigation into possible underage drinking by the team and that two coaches had been suspended, but he did not identify the coaches.

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    He said the school has zero tolerance for underage drinking.

    Gobiel said, “Someone made a bad decision.”

    The athletic director did identify one of the coaches, saying that Dale Dunbar, the boys’ coach and rink manager, was suspended. Dunbar played for the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks in the 1980s.

    Dunbar could not be reached for comment. Gobiel did not identify the second coach.

    Gobiel expressed support for Dunbar, saying he and his team had no history of disciplinary problems.

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    “All that’s been good,” said Gobiel. “The kids have been fantastic.”

    Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera
    @globe.com
    . Follow her on twitter @jacktemp.