Man sentenced to 7 years probation for fight that led to hockey coach’s death in St. Paul

A man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter charges for a fight in St. Paul that led to a hockey coach’s death was sentenced to seven years probation and one year of work release on Monday. He has credit for three days already served.

Court documents show Ryan Whisler, 46, of St. Paul, pleaded guilty in May to first-degree manslaughter while committing fifth-degree assault when he punched and pushed 48-year-old Michael Ryan of Bloomington in April 2021 at a downtown St. Paul bar.

Whisler faces 86 months in prison if he violates the terms of his release.

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According to witness accounts, Michael Ryan fell and hit his head during a “physical confrontation” on the bar’s front steps. Police said Whisler left the scene after the incident.

The criminal complaint states that friends of the victim say the confrontation began because of Whisler’s behavior in the bathroom.

Some urinals were reportedly covered with cellophane to encourage social distancing. Ryan’s friend told police that Whisler then punched a hole in the cellophane and took a video of himself urinating on the covered urinal. Ryan was reportedly “agitated with Whisler” and called him out for his behavior as they left the bar, leading to the confrontation.

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The complaint states surveillance footage shows Whisler grabbing Ryan’s shirt and striking him. As others got in between Whisler and Ryan, Whisler maneuvered around them and struck Ryan again in the head with ” a large, sweeping motion” according to the complaint. Whisler then pushed Ryan down the stairs, causing him to hit his head on the concrete.

Michael Ryan was taken to Regions Hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead the next day.

The complaint states that Whisler then fled the scene with another man, returned to pick up an object from the stairs, then fled again.