Vancouver Canucks players, coach say hazing becoming a thing of the past

Vancouver Canucks head coach Travis Green fielded questions on the usual topics at a post-practice media scrum Thursday: injury updates and his thoughts on the team's opponents, for instance.

But in the wake of former Stanley Cup champion Daniel Carcillo speaking out about brutal treatment as a youth hockey player at the hands of veterans, Green fielded questions about another topic: hazing.

"I like that he spoke out," Green said. "I don't think it's as big of an issue now in junior from what I understand.

"There's really no need or no place for hazing in my opinion."

Carcillo, in a series of tweets last weekend, outlined what he claimed was violent and degrading hazing he witnessed and experienced while a 17-year-old rookie with the Sarnia Sting junior hockey team.

He said during the 2002-03 season, veteran players would beat rookies with a sawn-off goalie stick, whipped one with his own belt and forced younger players to sit down while the older players urinated or spit chewing tobacco on or near them.

'There was stuff that I'd see'

Green played junior hockey himself in the mid-to-late 1980s. He believes things have changed since then.

"There was stuff that I'd see," he said when asked about hazing in his playing days. "I'm not going to talk about it right now."

He believes junior hockey has stronger anti-bullying measures in place these days.

He coached the junior Portland Winterhawks from 2010 to 2013 and says hazing was never part of the culture of that team thanks to leadership from veteran players.

"It wasn't a part of our program," he said. "It just wasn't."

Changing culture

Other Canucks players, speaking to reporters in the team locker room at Rogers Arena, said they too believe that hazing is a thing of the past.

CBC

Center Bo Horvat, 23, called Carcillo's allegations "tough to hear" but said by the time he was playing junior hockey, from 2011 to 2014, hazing had faded out.

"It got really cracked down on when I started coming into junior," Horvat said. "So I didn't get any of that kinda stuff, thank God."

CBC

Fellow centre Sam Gagner, 29, said none of the teams he played on in his junior career were involved in hazing.

"You hate for that to be part of hockey culture," Gagner said. "As a team, it's important to make your teammates feel welcome, that they're part of something."

With files from Greg Rasmussen