Hockey coach charged with assaulting youths found dead in cell

Ivan Pravilov, the former coach of the Ukrainian national hockey team who was accused of sexually assaulting underage boys in Mount Airy, was found dead early Friday in a federal jail cell in Philadelphia.

Staff at the Federal Detention Center in Center City found Pravilov, 48, unresponsive in his cell about 3 a.m. and attempted to resuscitate him, prison spokesman Darrin Howard said.

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Ivan Pravilov.

Pravilov was taken to a hospital and pronounced dead at 3:45 a.m., Howard said.

"The FBI has been notified, and the cause of death is being investigated," Howard said. "Preliminary information suggests the probable cause of death to be a suicide. However, an autopsy will be conducted by the medical examiner to confirm the exact cause of death."

Pravilov was arrested in Philadelphia in January and charged with sexually assaulting two young hockey players in a Mount Airy apartment.

Federal authorities charged him on sex-tourism counts. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Pravilov faced similar charges in his home country, according to an Interpol warrant.

He operated the Unique Hockey School, which hosted hockey camps along the Eastern seaboard. He also was a director of the New England Sports Academy in Massachusetts. He lived in Cherry Hill and maintained an apartment in Mount Airy, according to federal investigators.

His youth program, also known as Druzhba78, had brought hundreds of young Ukrainian players to the United States and Canada to train with North American teens. The Ukrainians, driven by dreams of playing in the NHL or winning college hockey scholarships, traveled from city to city and were housed with local host families from Quebec to the District of Columbia.

Following an investigation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, the U.S. Attorney's Office filed charges alleging Pravilov had transported minors across state lines for the purpose of engaging in illicit sexual conduct.

An ICE spokesman at the time of his arrest said, "We believe there are many more victims."

Pravilov faced 40 years in federal prison if found guilty of the sex-tourism charges.


Contact staff writer Sam Wood at 215-854-2796 or samwood@phillynews.com.

Inquirer staff writer Robert Moran contributed to this article.