[Updated] A look at the Tigers Hazing Scandal


Just a month ago, Tigers were settling into another 'home' at the Metro Centre

Just a month ago, Tigers were settling into another ‘home’ at the Metro Centre

[Update] In a Dalhousie Gazette exclusive, a player  spoke out against the sanctions amid hazing allegations and felt the time was right to set the story straight. (Dalhousie Gazette)

Thursday evening the news of that the Dalhousie Women’s Varsity Hockey team would forfeit the rest of the season, a result of suspending all senior players on the team amid allegations of hazing and an almost two month investigation.

We’re instantly reminded of former hazing scandals whether it’s the ‘Dr. Broom’ story at McGill or just a few years ago closer to home, where stories broke of hazing in residence’s at St. Francis Xavier University.

What first appeared to be a straight forward case and suspension, took a new twist as parents came to the defence of their daughters and claiming that the University had overblown the situation, including details that the team were made to sign a contract to keep quiet on the investigation and incident.

It has been quite the few seasons for the Tigers with Head Coach Leslie Jordan let go and then being left ‘homeless’ after their arena was demolished and left to be shuttled around from ‘home rink’ to ‘home rink’ and now the team, well, is no longer a team.

From TSN to the Huffington post, the story spread like wildfire and was a national headline across the late news cycle, here’s a look at the story so far:

First report of the suspensions came from local writer Frances Willick and went viral over night, the story of a University team suspended due to hazing spread instantly (Chronicle Herald)

Students reacting to the story of hazing, a mix of reactions as the story breaks on campus (CBC)

Parents of players say that the team is ready to fight back, calling the accusations of ‘severe hazing’ silly and untrue. (Chronicle Herald)

Throughout the ordeal players on the team have refused comment, but one former player posted a blog post late last night.

These stripes will never face shows you a very different perspective, reminding us that these are real people being affected on both sides of the story. (Kinesiologen)

So now as more details emerge and now it appears that the parents and players are not willing to sit back and watch their team be taken away, maybe this isn’t such an open and shut case as the University tried to make it.

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Henry is a writer for Sportstream.ca  and Host of the The Sports Show on 88.1 CKDU  every Thursday Morning at 9am. You can follow him on twitter at @HenryWhitfield , where he live tweets about sports far too much.

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3 comments

  1. It’s all a pretty sad state of affairs, but it comes down to one thing for me: accountability.

    While I won’t pretend to have inside knowledge of the situation, it seems all parties — including the parents / supporters of the suspended players — are not suggesting hazing of some sort didn’t take place. That’s right: there appears to be agreement by all parties that the senior players on the team KNOWINGLY broke a number of rules and simply figured they wouldn’t get caught or, if they did, nothing much would happen.

    While that’s not a terribly unique mindset: many of us hedge our bets in this way quite often — think speed limits, for instance — it doesn’t mean rules, regulations, and sets of expectations haven’t been broken. And it certainly doesn’t mean folks shouldn’t be held accountable for their actions and their choices.

    Unfortunately, there seems to be a somewhat growing sense in some corners that holding folks accountable in this particular case is “unfair”. The rationale appears to be three-fold:

    1. First, that Dalhousie administration’s mangling of the arena situation (ie. admin’s poor behaviour) and its negative effect on the women’s (and to some extent, men’s) program(s), should somehow cancel or even out this other — COMPLETELY UNRELATED — poor behaviour. That’s simply a faulty or disingenuous logic.

    2. Secondly, there’s the excuse that this sort of thing happens all the time and these players simply got caught. Sadly, that’s likely quite true. But it’s again a faulty or disingenuous logic. Undetected bad acts by others don’t excuse those that are noticed. If that was the case, by extension, no one should ever be held accountable for anything, because in all likelihood someone else had done the same thing at some point and gotten away with it. Part of becoming an adult — one would hope — is being able to stay focused on your own role and actions as opposed to immediately looking outward to confuse of deflect attention.

    2. Thirdly, the more pervasive (and, quite frankly, troubling) argument appears to be one of degree: the ol’ “It was all in good fun… It wasn’t that bad…No one got hurt… It was just students being students…” line of rationalization. It’s a near classic tactic used by those who know they’ve done something wrong but who want to avoid taking actual responsibility and/or be held accountable for their actions.

    I’m saddened that folks — students, athletes, parents, everyone — aren’t better able to step back and then STEP UP to simply say: ” YES, we did something wrong here. We acknowledge, above and beyond anything else, that HAZING OF ANY SORT IS WRONG AND UNACCEPTABLE. We made a mistake; we know there are real consequences for that. How can we accept those outcomes in a mature fashion, learn from this experience, and move forward in a positive way, rather than make excuses?”

    Taking responsibility and being accountable certainly involves acknowledging the wrong(s) one has done and the harm(s) one has caused. But it doesn’t end there. True accountability ALSO involves honorably accepting additional consequences, sanctions, or outcomes — let’s call those ‘penalties’ in this context — serving your time in the proverbial ‘sin bin’, and then coming out after that time has expired and giving it an honest go on your next ‘shift’.

    I’d have expected hockey players and their parents to understand at least that.

    1. Hazing is wrong and unacceptable, if it took place. Unfortunately, we will never know because the administration took an email from a disgruntled parent and slapped each member of the team with a guilty verdict. The question in this case, should be whether the punishment fits the crime. Are there alternative more productive ways for students to learn a lesson? The outcome for the Laurier mens baseball team is a case in point.

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