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Carcillo files class action suit against CHL for hazing, trauma experienced by minors

Major junior hockey has a serious hazing problem

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Practice Sessions Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images

Warning: disturbing content regarding abuse.

Former New York Rangers forward Daniel Carcillo and retired WHL forward Garrett Taylor have begun a class action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), its leagues, and teams.

Per Carcillo’s post on Twitter, the lawsuit is on behalf of underage minors who suffered “violent hazing, physical and sexual assault and psychological trauma” while playing major junior hockey in Canada.

Carcillo played in the OHL (Ontario Hockey League) with the Sarnia Sting and Mississauga IceDogs between 2002 and 2005 before moving up to the AHL with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the 2005-06 season. Taylor played for the Lethbridge Hurricanes in the WHL (Western Hockey League) in 2008-09 and briefly in 2009-10. TSN’s Rick Westhead has reported that the lawsuit alleges that Taylor, then 17, was forced to fight other teenagers by his head coach. He was also allegedly forced to consume dangerous amounts of alcohol and dress in women’s clothing.

In 2008, Carcillo described 2003 — the same year he was drafted in the third round by the Pittsburgh Penguins — as the “hardest year in his life” because of the violent hazing and physical and mental abuse he was forced to endure in the OHL. The experiences he shared on social media and to members of the media have been corroborated by former teammates.

News of the lawsuit comes just four days after former Kitchener Rangers center Eric Guest shared his story of being forced to do cocaine by an older player on the Rangers because he was a rookie. The allegations of Guest, Carcillo, and Taylor are unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg.

The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell is reporting that the lawsuit brought forth by Carcillo and Taylor alleges that CHL players have been subjected to sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, coerced bestiality, and other heinous, vile acts. None of the allegations made in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

Carcillo believes that the lawsuit will give victims of abuse an opportunity to be heard. “I want to be a conduit for healing,” Carcillo told Sports Illustrated in December after opening up his Twitter direct messages to hockey players who had experienced abuse. “I want these kids to understand that it’s not their fault, that what happened to them was abuse.”

This is an ongoing story, and given the news that has already been reported, we should expect more details to emerge in the near future.