Philadelphia Flyers left wing Daniel Carcillo is restrained by referee Ian Walsh (29) in the first period against the Minnesota Wild during a preseason NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., on September 25, 2010. Daniel Carcillo spoke out on Saturday night about his experience with hazing while a member of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, detailing how he feels Canada’s hockey culture needs to change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Andy King

Philadelphia Flyers left wing Daniel Carcillo is restrained by referee Ian Walsh (29) in the first period against the Minnesota Wild during a preseason NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., on September 25, 2010. Daniel Carcillo spoke out on Saturday night about his experience with hazing while a member of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, detailing how he feels Canada’s hockey culture needs to change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Andy King

NHL player Carcillo speaks out on alleged hazing experience

Daniel Carcillo took to Twitter to talk about his time on the Sarnia Sting

Daniel Carcillo has had enough. Enough of keeping his mouth shut, enough of protecting the people who hurt him.

In two lengthy Twitter threads over the weekend, the two-time Stanley Cup winner outlined some of the alleged bullying and hazing he suffered through as a 17-year-old rookie on the Sarnia Sting over the course of the 2002-03 Ontario Hockey League season.

“That was the worst year of my life. And I got drafted to the NHL and achieved my dreams,” Carcillo, a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 draft, said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press on Monday. “So think about that statement.

“That was, by far, the hardest year of my life. No doubt about it.”

RELATED: Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

Carcillo, 33, was inspired to open up about his experience after news broke about an alleged sexual assault involving athletes at St. Michael’s College School, an all-boys private school in Toronto, that was captured on camera. The native of King City, Ont., also thought it would be helpful to share his story as part of Twitter’s Bullying Awareness Week.

From his verified Twitter account, Carcillo spoke of being beaten with the sawed off paddle of a goaltender’s hockey stick on a daily basis. He also described a “shower train” where rookies were forced to sit on the floor in the shower as veterans urinated or spit chewing tobacco on or near them, sometimes throwing shaving cream at them as well.

Carcillo described further shocking scenes to The Canadian Press, including being forced to bob for apples in a cooler filled with waste including pizza, urine, and spit.

“There’s no stopping me (sharing these stories). This sport and that culture has taken a lot from me,” said Carcillo, who was a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the NHL over the league’s handling of head injuries. A tentative US$18.9-million settlement in that lawsuit was announced on Nov. 12.

“I just want to make sure that people understand these uncomfortable truths. That parents understand what really goes on and that it happens way more often than just me talking about it.”

Carcillo said that he reached a breaking point in 2003 when he and six or seven other rookies were stuffed into the washroom on a charter bus during a 45-minute trip between Sarnia, Ont., and London, Ont. As the shirtless players were stuffed into the confined space, Carcillo said veteran players spat their chewing tobacco through an air vent. When they were released from the washroom, Carcillo said he and a fellow rookie came out swinging, fighting their teammates.

During that season, Carcillo contacted David Branch, commissioner of the OHL, telling him of the ongoing issues in the Sting’s locker-room. Branch was not available for comment on Monday, but a spokesperson from the league said that Branch brought the issue to the attention of Sarnia’s ownership and management groups and began initiating harsh fines and penalties for teams that were caught hazing players.

“As acknowledged by Daniel Carcillo in several of his online posts, the OHL did react to the concerns he raised during his rookie season,” reads an official statement issued by the OHL to The Canadian Press.

“The league, which has a zero tolerance on hazing, has been implementing policies to prevent hazing or bullying for several years. Today in the OHL all players receive training on the prevention of bullying and hazing through their member team. All players acknowledge to the league in writing that they have participated in this training process. Players are encouraged to bring any concerns forward without fear of reprisal.”

In October 2005, Windsor Spitfires’ Moe Mantha was given a one-year suspension as general manager and 25 games as coach for a hazing incident involving several of his players. Then in 2009 the OHL’s board of governors developed the OHL Enforcement Program, designed to address and attempt to eliminate violations of the hazing rules and impose appropriate penalties if violations occur.

Jeff Perry, Sarnia’s head coach in 2002-03, says he was concerned for Carcillo and disappointed in his veteran players when he read Carcillo’s allegations this past weekend.

“Certainly it’s something that, at the time, we were unaware of. It’s nothing that the Sarnia Sting or the management group or the coaching staff would support or condone if those allegations were true,” said Perry. ”Hard to make a formal comment, other than, obviously it’s affected Dan, who I think is a great young man, gone on to have a terrific career.

“Certainly it’s concerning to hear that these events possibly took place.”

RELATED: Former students share stories of bullying at St. Michael’s dating back decades

In a story published in the Players’ Tribune online magazine on July 1, 2015, former Sting forward Rich Clune — a year younger than Carcillo — alluded to hazing issues in Sarnia when he joined the team for the 2003-2004 season.

“This was back in the days when physical hazing was pretty prominent, but luckily one of the older guys on the team, Daniel Carcillo, stuck up for me for some reason and made sure the older guys didn’t mess with me too bad,” said Clune. ”I’ll always love him for that.”

Unrestricted free agent Shawn Matthias tweeted Carcillo’s series of posts, saying his experience as a rookie on the OHL’s Belleville Bulls left him “an angry confused young man,” until he joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets where he said head coach Paul Maurice and other members of the organization helped him overcome his trauma. Matthias did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Canadian Press and Maurice declined comment.

Perry made the point that coaches can’t be everywhere and that alleged incidents like the “shower train” that Carcillo described on Twitter can easily happen without the knowledge of coaches.

“We can’t stand in the shower areas for obvious reasons,” said Perry. “There’s certain areas in a room where we can’t monitor as a staff or watch 24/7. You would certainly hope that your leadership group, your veteran players, wouldn’t do the things that are being alleged by Daniel.

“You would hope that you would have better character in your room. That’s the disappointing fact that if it did take place you would certainly would be disappointed in your veterans.”

Carcillo, however, insists that Perry was aware of the treatment that he and other rookies were subjected to.

“To be honest, I like Jeff, I really do. I don’t blame him. I don’t blame him, I don’t blame (assistant coach Greg Walters),” said Carcillo. “I blame the guys who did it to me. Straight up. And I always will.

“I’ve moved past this. I’ve shook their hands at bowling tournaments in Toronto. Part of me wanted to knock them out on the spot and part of me … fake it until you make it.

“I don’t want to blow these guys’ lives up because some of them are still hanging on in the minors.”

At the time of the alleged incidents the Sting were owned by the Ciccarelli brothers, with Rob Ciccarelli acting as team president and governor until January 2015 when the team was sold to former NHLers Derian Hatcher and David Legwand. Rob Ciccarelli also did not immediately respond to an interview request with The Canadian Press.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

AW Neill Elementary School in Port Alberni. (NEWS FILE PHOTO)
SD70 chooses new name for AW Neill School in Port Alberni

New name honours Nuu-chah-nulth Peoples’ connection to region

Ron MacDonald fields questions at a news conference in Halifax on Sept. 27, 2011. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Finding ‘comfortable’ indigenous monitor tough task in Tofino-area shooting death

Julian Jones case hampered by difficulty finding a civilian comfortable with privacy protocols

Port Alberni RCMP officer in command Insp. Eric Rochette presents longtime community policing volunteer Louie Aumair with a OIC appreciation certificate. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
Port Alberni RCMP honour longtime volunteer

First responders receive support from broader community

The Dock+ is located on Harbour Road in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
PROGRESS 2021: Port Alberni’s food hub still growing a year later

The Dock hopes to open a retail store on Alberni’s busy waterfront

Shanna Ramm of Mosaic is the first person to graduate with a Bachelor of Disability Management from Pacific Coast University-Workplace Health Sciences. Her convocation took place virtually on Dec. 1, 2020. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
PROGRESS 2021: Pacific Coast University celebrates with milestones

Alberni institution earns $6M return-to-work grant from province

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Denmark soccer player Christian Eriksen collapses during game against Finland

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Nathan Watts, a member of the Tseshaht First Nation near Port Alberni, shares his story of substance use, a perspective he said isn’t seen enough. (Photo courtesy of Nathan Watts)
Public shaming, hate perpetuates further substance use: UVic researcher

Longtime addict Nathan Watts offers a user’s perspective on substance use

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Condolences pour in for Kathy Richardson, Naramata’s 3rd homicide victim in recent weeks

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More than 75% of B.C. adults have 1st dose of COVID vaccine

The federal government has confirmed a boost in the Moderna vaccine will be coming later this month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read