Anthony “Tony” DeSilva is the cockroach of the sport of hockey. He’s a sexual predator that has absolutely no business involved in the sport of hockey, yet he’s acting as a family advisor. We’ve also been told that he has free run in the rinks of New England and possibly even served as a billet for one of the junior teams this past season.
How could something like this even happen? God only knows.
Let’s go ahead and recap some of this animal’s greatest hits.
A lot of this came from previous articles that I penned to help parents and players make informed choices.
This article is regarding disgraced hockey coach DeSilva, his case, and attempt to return to the game.
Before getting started, the idea of this is not to pass judgement, it is to provide readers all the necessary information needed to make their own assessments of DeSilva. Now that he’s back in the game, it’s only fair that players and parents have the information needed to make smart choices.
It’s also fair to say that I would never put any player into harm’s way, and that also means not even in the same room with a man, who in my own opinion, is a deviant sexual predator of the absolute worst variety. Today I will present the facts that opinion is based on.
There is a lot of information out there regarding the behavior of sexual predators and their involvement in youth athletic organizations. Simply said, when it comes to hockey, the sport has not been immune to the problem.
We started hearing the first rumors regarding DeSilva back in 2009. It’s always difficult to imagine just how a junior player could fall into the trap of a predator, but it happens. Coaches like Graham James used their power within the game to identify and groom targets. National Hockey League players Sheldon Kennedy and Theoren Fleury are two of James’ victims.
First of all, sex offences don’t just happen, they are well thought out cycles that lead to acting out a deviant fantasy. DeSilva’s case follows an all too familiar cycle of offense that criminal investigators see time and time again. It’s impossible to believe that the 2012 incident was the first for DeSilva, or that it will be the last.
In most cases, the investigators already know the path the sexual offender suspect is going to take before the steps even begin. In DeSilva’s case, it was obvious to all that this was not the disgraced coach’s first walk. He was very confident and unconcerned about getting caught.
When DeSilva started talking to who he thought was a second and third Florida teen, the coach quickly went to his Graham James card as the big-time coach of a hockey program.
The following is taken from the FoxBoston story in the days following DeSilva’s arrest.
DeSilva was A 41-year-old hockey coach accused of sending and soliciting nude photos during conversations with who he thought were teenage boys on the Internet. He was arrested for 10 counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and one count transmission of material harmful to a child.
Investigators in Polk County (FL) began posing as a 16-year-old boy after the teen’s mother contacted them about interactions between her son and a man named “Tony” on Facebook.
Polk County investigators allege that “Tony,” who they identify as DeSilva, sent nude photos of himself to who he thought was the teen on the Internet and in text messages.
Investigators claim DeSilva described in graphic detail sexual acts he would like to perform on the boy.
Investigators say they also connected with DeSilva while posing as two other 16-year-old boys from Polk County. They say in these conversations he solicited both teens to send nude photos of themselves to him and solicited them to perform sexual acts.
After his arrest, investigators say DeSilva told detectives that he knew the people he was chatting with were 16.
In a candid phone discussion with DeSilva a few years back, he tried to brush off his past as a false allegation from a player that was cut. Did we really expect anything else? “I knew he was a police officer and was just playing around with them,” DeSilva said in the phone conversation. “The case was thrown out because they made up stuff that never happened.”
Made stuff up?
DeSilva was charged with 75 counts involving use of a computer to seduce a child, transmitting harmful material to a child, inducing a child to engage in a sexual performance, causing a child to travel or attempt to travel for sexual purposes and unlawful use of a two-way communication device.
DeSilva, spent 244 days in the Polk County Jail and was sentenced by Circuit Judge Catherine Combee to time served and 58 months of probation.
Criminals often suffer from the illusion that certain laws do not apply to them, that targeted restrictions can be worked around, and that they can reach their goals regardless of the means.
It is my opinion that Anthony DeSilva is a criminal sexual deviant that shows zero remorse for his past and has returned to the game in any way possible, regardless of who he has hurt along the way.
After the arrest, USA Hockey quickly suspended DeSilva from the game.
As you know, USA Hockey suspended Anthony DeSilva immediately when he was arrested several years ago. As for USA Hockey’s position relative to his involvement in the game, he is banned from having anything to do with USA Hockey programs, and we will continue to enforce that ban. Dave Fischer, Senior Director, USA Hockey
While DeSilva’s plea agreement did not result in a conviction that requires a sexual offender registration (how did that happen?), USA Hockey and the United States Center for SafeSport are enforcing a Permanent Ineligibility action as the result of DeSilva’s “Criminal Disposition- involving a Minor.”
Once DeSilva cleared probation, It did not take long for him to mastermind the work around regarding USA Hockey’s action and has put himself back in the game, and he did not act alone.
DeSilva and Peter Preteroti started talking about a new company, Top Hockey Prospect, in the summer of 2020 with Buffalo area players, parents, and coaches. A State of New York notarized partnership agreement between DeSilva and Preteroti was filed on July 3rd of that year.
At some point after reports surfaced regarding the new venture, Preteroti told Regals owner Mike Answeeney that he was unaware of DeSilva’s legal issues from the past.
“That’s not true,” former Eastern States Hockey League commissioner Andrew “Sarge” Richards said back in 2020. “Peter is fully aware of what happened with DeSilva and the Mass Leafs.” In fact, a simple Google search of Peter’s name and DeSilva shows a long history of the two interacting in the name of hockey. Preteroti’s Buffalo Stars even traveled to New England to face the Leafs in non-league games in addition to many other interactions.
So why would Preteroti, with so much to lose, take the chance to risk everything to help DeSilva? That’s a question that remains unanswered. Another question that has emerged; is it a crime for DeSilva to try and work around the SafeSport restriction and for Preteroti to have helped him?
When news of the new venture hit the hockey world, DeSilva quickly taken on the role of the victim on the company’s Facebook page.
“It sickens me that there are people who can make up as much lies about someone and make themselves look innocent and they destroy someone’s reputation all because they are jealous and pathetic and so many people believe them without finding out the truth.”Anthony DeSilva, 2020
Hey Tony, so the deputies in Florida lied about the naked pictures Sheriff Grady said you sent to his deputies when you thought they were 16-year-old boys?
In my opinion, the biggest problem is that you are so open about your new venture and actively reaching out to the same aged players that got you into trouble in the first place. Why not turn to the pro game instead? I know, those guys would simply knock your block off.
The situation with Anthony DeSilva has somewhat soured my impression of the hockey community. We are supposed to be protecting these kids. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game, but I can’t understand why so many people would think that opening any door for DeSilva would be a good idea.
Let’s make this very clear; anybody that has knowingly taken a phone call from DeSilva, and did not report that interaction to SafeSport, is morally guilty of enabling a permanently ineligible person. There are a lot of people that simply did not know about DeSilva’s story, and we understand that.
I could make a list of well over 25 coaches and teams that fall into that category. That’s not going to happen, today. Instead, I’m going to give everyone the opportunity to right the wrong. Please report any interaction you have had with DeSilva to your league and SafeSport immediately.
My challenge for all is this; we must keep banned individuals from sneaking back into the game. There has to be a serious consequence for people like Preteroti who have gone to such great measures to enable DeSilva.
Coaches that fail to report contact with DeSilva should face some type of sanctions as well.
Information is everything, so let’s get the word out. Local affiliates need to get information to the rinks, leagues to all staff and teams, and the rest of us as well. If we see something, say something.
Tony, I know you are reading this, please leave the kids alone.
There are few things in life that concern me more than an admitted pedophile having open access to the game of hockey.
What’s the purpose of a permanent ineligibility ban if the individual is still permitted access to hockey events across the country? What’s the purpose of a permanent ineligibility ban if the individual is in continuous contact with coaches and teams from the youth and junior levels of play?
The fact that DeSilva now fancies himself as an advisor and that absolutely disgusts me. How can any parent believe that such a monster is the best choice to lead their children through the junior hockey process and into college?
The question for all of you is simple, why are showcase promoters, leagues, and building letting this predator have access to the kids?
Earlier last year it was discovered that the DeSilva was responsible for getting several players to the Maine Eclipse of the Eastern Hockey League. It appeared that folks were more concerned about how I learned of the issue and less concerned about the fact that the DeSilva was involved at all.
Most coaches know about the DeSilva’s track record and do a good job of keeping him away. But then there are the others who continually work with DeSilva by allowing him to put teams into showcases and taking his calls regarding players. I’m still confused why that is not a crime.
Maybe that is the question all of you should be asking your congressional representation at both the state and federal level. If someone like the DeSilva can still get into the hockey rinks, and access to the boys, What does that tell you about our society.
We know there’s a whole cross section of our society that would like to normalize pedophilia. I’m sorry if this offends anybody, but I’m never going to be OK with that. I feel sorry for any idiot that decides to try to hit on my 14-year-old son. I may get a set of handcuffs, but there’s a really good chance that guy is going to need a new set of teeth.
Many people feel that violence is not the answer, so tell me what is. I am more than sick and tired of hearing the DeSilva’s name keep coming up every week. If law enforcement authorities refuse to address the issue, what else is a parent to do?
Maybe take exception by not letting your player participate in any event that has allowed the DeSilva in. As a parent you are really the one in control. Vote with your money. Tell USA Hockey, leagues, and buildings but your son is not going to play if DeSilva is allowed access.
What is the point of a permanent ineligibility label if it’s just going to be ignored? Does such a labeling by SafeSport carry any weight at all? As of now I can’t see it, and it’s getting very frustrating.
Here’s the really interesting position. What if there is another dad like me, and he simply takes DeSilva out for trying to seduce his son? Will the dad really be to blame? I don’t think so, I think the whole system is put in jeopardy when parents are forced to make those kinds of decisions. Good or bad.
Pedophiles simply don’t know how to stop being a pedophile. They just get better at not getting caught. The circle of abuse for any sexual predator is well established. And make no mistake, DeSilva is the definition of the word predator. The problem is there are many within the game that are enabling him.
So, what are you going to do about the problem? That’s what every parent should be thinking today. If it’s not for your own son, let’s protect the rest of the boys coming through the system.
Enough is enough.
Let me close with this note from one of DeSilva’s former players.
Hey Stephen, I knew Tony for only about 6-8 months, I went out there to play for his team when I was 15. Tony did a lot of odd things the first day I met him. I remember vividly he was chasing a teammate around the rink trying to grab his privates, telling him he was going to pull his pants down.
Tony quickly took to me; he would call me cutie all the time and just made me feel uncomfortable while I was around him. While we were at the EJHL showcase, he had kids stay in his hotel room and come see him in his room as well. I’m not 100% sure what happened, or what had been said in the room, but he invited me to stay in his room that weekend.
Not too long after this he got arrested by the Florida police and my Mom thankfully pulled me out of the organization and brought me home. Looking back on it I’m not sure what could have happened if I was there for much longer as a player. It’s 100% true kids kind of just brushed off his weird behavior because he was such a successful coach, they wanted to have success so most kind of just let him do what he wanted to them, like the grabbing, and verbal things he would do and say to them.