The Canadian Hockey League finds itself at the center of abuse allegations. Some current Colorado Avalanche players and prospects came up through that league.
No Colorado Avalanche players or signed prospects are involved in a class action lawsuit being taken against the Canadian Hockey League, the premier development league for Canadian hockey. Some former CHL players have related some disturbing abuse while teenagers in that league.
Six current Avalanche roster players and eight signed prospects came up through the CHL, though. A look through the prospects still eligible to be signed turns up a few more. That’s not to say they suffered any of the abuse detailed in the lawsuit. I hope not — it’s truly disturbing.
The CHL encompasses the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL.
Former NHLer Daniel Carcillo and Garrett Taylor, who played in the WHL from 2008 to 2010, are the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit. In their report, they detail abuse that’s well beyond what I’d consider even normal hazing — which isn’t right itself. Forget those stories about being forced to wear something demeaning on your head or drink until you vomit. The stories in that report are deranged.
I’m not going to repeat the allegations, but you can read them here.
Now, another former CHL player has anonymously come forward with allegations of similar kinds of abuse. Again, I won’t repeat them because of their disgusting nature, but you can read them here.
Now, I get there’s a whole locker room culture, and boys and men aren’t on their best behavior in the locker room. I wouldn’t expect them to act like they’re at Sunday church with their grandmas. However, it takes a sick mind to come up with the kind of scenarios alleged in the reports.
More from Mile High Sticking
- Could Colorado Avalanche move on from Pavel Francouz next offseason?
- 4 goalies to replace Pavel Francouz if he has to miss time
- Colorado Avalanche make sneaky signing with Tatar
- Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog could return in 2023-24 playoffs
- Colorado Avalanche rookie face-off tournament roster
I believe the victims. I’m no victim blamer. I see no upside to these victims coming forward. There are much easier ways to get notorious attention — ask Biz Nasty.
I think these men know the kind of systemic abuse that happened to them could still be happening to minor boys in that league. Those young men are the best and brightest of what youth hockey has to offer, and their reward is to either endure or engage in torture.
We all know the hockey culture doesn’t encourage boys to stand up against a crowd. Plus, if the lawsuit is accurate, adults participated in the abuse. This wasn’t just a case of kids away from home being stupid. Adults partook.
The hockey culture needs to change. I hope there’s a cleaning house of the CHL. Yes, men need to lose their jobs. It’s unfortunate, but if even one of those men knew his cohort on another team whipped a boy with a hockey stick, he doesn’t deserve such a high-status job. And obviously the whipper’s head needs to roll.
I hope this lawsuit draws attention to that toxic culture. There are other, much better ways to build a brotherhood rather than strip players of their dignity.
Just look at the Colorado Avalanche culture. There’s is one built on mutual respect with a little chirping. The occasional shaving cream pie may have made its way to a face. That’s harmless — what’s in the reports is not.