I recently was made aware of what is happening and the allegations made by former players of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) and how some of them were hazed by veterans a few years back. For me, hazing was never a huge thing in my hockey experience. My last year of juniors, we did a couple things that would definitely be considered hazing/picking on the younger players, however it was usually harmless. I say “usually” because there was an instance where a certain player or two wanted us to use the “broken goalie stick and use it as a paddle board” thing. This type of hazing was apart of the allegations and you can read about that form of hazing and all the disgusting other allegations here. As far as the goalie stick hazing incident went, myself and a couple other veteran players saw what had happened and put an end to it immediately. I’m all for having fun with the boys, teasing the rookies and messing with them, but that went way too far. It happened once, luckily the kid who was smacked with the stick was okay about it and we all moved on, there was never another instance of this type of hazing, or any other vile or malicious type of hazing that occurred. The most hazing we ever did was a thing called “shoe check.” Usually this meant going to a restaurant and putting some ketchup on a rookie’s shoes very sneakily, calling for all the players to check their shoes, and then the rookie who had the ketchup on their shoes had to sing a song by themselves in front of the whole restaurant. Sure it’s a little embarrassing but its good fun and everyone enjoys it. I remember the one time I did it, I had to sing a Spice Girls song in an IHOP.
As far as what happened in the CHL and these instances of hazing… They are disgusting, vile, and honestly I can’t believe that they made players do this. Honestly I don’t even know where the ideas would have originated from. It just doesn’t make sense to me how one could have that idea and then think to themselves, “yes this is a great idea.” On top of that, I don’t understand how vets, captains, AND coaches would have allowed this to happen. At the end of the day, as much shit as you give each other, or however much you mess with your teammates, they are your teammates. You’re going to war with them, you’d do anything for them and you know they would do anything for you. I just can’t imagine treating a teammate like that. The leadership in these rooms should be ashamed of themselves as well. I was an assistant captain one year, and my last year of juniors I wasn’t a captain but I was the oldest one in the room, so I had a voice in the locker room. Our coaches and captains would have never allowed these things to happen. Honestly I think if my coaches saw any of these things happen, they would’ve kicked us off the team, as simple as that.
I hope these allegations put these types of ideas to rest and end them here and now. Junior hockey was fantastic for me and I wouldn’t trade it for the world, it makes me very sad some kids had a completely different experience than me.