“Show your bush,” the animals screamed at the four young rookies in the changing room. “Show your bush and dance around the room or face the swats!” What in the heck is this, some kind of strange gay porn video? Nope, just another day in the dressing room of the local junior hockey team.
We first got word of the team’s shenanigans back in December, but the mistake was made to not dig into it. When parents called with additional details that were beyond disgusting, it was time to take immediate action.
When are these people going to figure it out? Growing up in junior hockey should be fun, and certainly not an experience as a sexual assault or abuse victim. The worst part about this story is the fact that the assistant coach is often sitting in the room laughing with the animals. What kind of human being does that; what kind of human being gets joy from the humiliation of another?
Maybe the same kind of adult that encourages players to drink together in the interest of team culture. Forget that it is a crime, but in the interest of boys being boys, everybody should do it for the team? What are the coaches trying to teach these young men?
I have spent half my life trying to advocate for players in this game, but it's absolutely frustrating to hear a young player talk about the abuse that's being carried out in the name of the game I love so much. I never imagined being so disgusted with where we are today.
Authorities must step in and do something. Does somebody really have to die? Because that is what going to happen if things continue to escalate. We are already at a point to where the players that do not wish to take part are getting threatened with physical assault by the pack of idiots.
OK dummies go ahead and do it, and I promise to do everything in my power to make sure each one of you is fully prosecuted. SafeSport is clear about matters of sexual abuse; a permanent ban means you will not be able to coach your own son’s peewee team if you are involved in such activities. Is that really what you want to happen? Yes, there are serious consequences for stupid behavior.
What about the coaches that promote this culture of stupidity? For them there is no letting up, when you hurt players, there are going to be consequences. I have every intention of suggesting that each family report the issue to SafeSport, and file reports with local law enforcement. When that process has run its course, there will be no place in the game for either of you.
The worst part about this situation is that the ownership of the team had no idea this crap was going on. Meanwhile, the head coach is often having a hard time even conducting practice because of his own overindulgence the night before.
Let us face reality here, these players are not going to be raising the Stanley Cup. Our teams are really preparing the boys for the rest of their life. Some of these coaches are missing the mark and are letting their egos overrun their intelligence. The idea here is for you to be a positive influence on these young men. But instead, you are encouraging behavior that can ultimately lead to criminal prosecution.
League authorities have been informed and team ownership has appeared to have initiated SafeSport protocols. That is a step in the right direction. Now it’s time for the coaches to man up and apologize for enabling the ridiculous behavior.
As for the veteran players on the team, It is not over yet. Prepare to answer questions about this situation when, or really if, you reach the next step up the ladder of development. Stay away from the “It was not me” response and instead apologize for not doing your own part in putting a stop to it.
Boys, figure it out. These should be the best times of your life. How are you going to feel if one of the players being victimized decides it is not worth it and blows his own head off? Do you really think that is never going to happen? Open your eyes and realize it happens to 15-24 year-olds more than 17 times EVERY day of every year in North America.
Suicide is neither a joke nor temporary solution. If you are even thinking about it, please pick up the phone and call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.