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

The District of Kitimat will be awarding business owners with a store front up to $5,000 to cover up to 50 per cent of exterior renovations. (Norhtern Development logo)
The District of Kitimat is awarding $5,000 to storefront owners for exterior renovations

The district has set aside $20,000 this year and non-profits are also eligible

Ron getting loose and sipping a glass of the family’s favourite greek amber spirit, Metaxa. (Photo supplied)
In Our Valley: Ron Lechner

Retired part-time singer and Rio Tinto lifer: Ron Lechner

Map of the road work that will be completed this summer. The streets highlighted in red are what the district planned on completing before additional funding, and the streets highlighted in orange is the road works that will be done with the additional funding. (District of Kitimat photo)
$1.1 million allocated for road work this year in Kitimat

Kitimat council has added $470,000 for more work by deferring four other projects.

Hirsch Creek Golf Course Volunteer, Augie Penner, talking about how he continues the tradition, set by Joe Atamchuck, to catch and release fry that keep spawning at the course. (Jacob Lubberts photo)
VIDEO: Kitimat golf course volunteers making moves for the fishlings

During the highwater season, salmon are known to lay their eggs in the ponds at the golf course

Ocean Wise’s cetacean photogrammetry research program uses aerial images collected by boat-launched drones to measure the body condition of whales. (Ocean Wise Marine Mammal License MML-18 photo)
LNG Canada commits $750K to whale research, conservation initiative

Ocean Wise education team will work alongside educational and Indigenous leaders in the area

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

Thousands of protesters make their way through the downtown core during a Black Lives Matter protest in Ottawa, Friday June 5, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
MPs’ study of systemic racism in policing concludes RCMP needs new model

Chair of the House public safety committee says it’s time for a reckoning on ‘quasi-military’ structure

A case filled with packages of boneless chicken breasts is shown in a grocery store Sunday, May 10, 2020, in southeast Denver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-David Zalubowski
One million chickens euthanized during labour dispute at Quebec slaughterhouse

Premier says waste amounts to 13 per cent of the province’s chicken production thrown in the garbage

Premier of Manitoba Brian Pallister speaks at a news conference at the Manitoba Legislative Building in Winnipeg on Wednesday, April 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/David Lipnowski
Provincial leaders want more federal money for health care, plan to meet in fall

Premiers ask Ottawa to increase its share of overall health spending to 35 per cent from 22 per cent

A section of the eastern slopes of the Canadian Rockies is seen west of Cochrane, Alta., Thursday, June 17, 2021. A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Panel says Grassy Mountain coal mine in Alberta Rockies not in public interest

Public hearings on the project in southern Alberta’s Crowsnest Pass region were held last fall

An old growth cedar stands in a cut-block within the Caycuse Valley. More than 100 prominent Canadians, have signed an open letter calling for the immediate protection of all remaining old-growth forests in B.C. (Submitted)
Brian Mulroney and Greta Thunberg among 100 celebrities pushing to save B.C. old growth

List includes Indigenous leaders, scientists, authors, Oscar winners

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on Friday, February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
U.S. border restrictions to remain in place until at least July 21

Safety minister says Canada, U.S. extending restrictions on non-essential international travel

Himalayan Life helped finance the construction of Nepal’s Yangri Academic Centre and dormitories after a 2015 earthquake devastated the valley, killing more than 9,000 people. (Screen grab/Peter Schaeublin)
B.C. charity founder pledges to rebuild Nepalese school swept away by flash floods

Six years after an earthquake killed more than 9,000 people, Nepal faces another catastrophy

Most Read