How Bad Does Hockey Hazing Have To Be To Get An Entire Women's College Team Suspended?

Last week we brought you the news that Dalhousie University, in Halifax, is shutting down it's women's hockey team for the rest of the season, after suspending 19 of its 24 members for their participation in a freshman hazing incident in September. We wondered just how bad the hazing was to qualify as over the line in a sport that's built on violence and binge drinking.

Today, some details. The Dalhousie Gazette speaks to an anonymous player, who sheds some light on what happened at a welcome-to-the-team house party:

According to the player, first-year team members were told to dress in blazers, Dal-themed boxers and had their hair slicked back with Vaseline. Throughout the night, the team played drinking games. The rookies were asked to answer such questions as: Who is the prettiest girl on the team and why?

So...like any other college party?

"If you'd shown up and not known it was a group of athletes, it could have been any other university party I've been to," she said.

"There was nothing malicious and definitely no attempt to make anyone uncomfortable. It was like any other night where some of the team went downtown afterwards."

[...]

The player said no one was forced to drink and that teammates were offered a place to stay if they needed somewhere to sleep.

Is that it? That can't be it. Unless Canadian universities are as terrified of lawsuits as ours are, in which case that might have been it. The school's investigation came after the parent of a player complained, so without taking some action, there was no way to put this genie back in the beer bottle.

The Gazette's anonymous player is, if anything, even more upset by the university's handling of the probe. In October the school forced the players to sign a contract or be kicked off the team. The contract is viewable on the Gazette's site, and forbids players from talking about the incident or the investigation, even with each other. Strikingly, there's also language that seems designed to prevent retaliation against the freshman student whose parent complained.

According to the player, the team was handed the contract as they were waiting to board a bus, told to sign it without discussion, and weren't given copies to keep. Remember athletes: you're always accountable. It's just that the people you're accountable to don't have to be.

Photo via Christopher Parent

Dal hockey player speaks out on hazing penalty [Dalhousie Gazette]