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The Inside Track: Walter Gretzky on hazing, thoroughbred racing

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The often bizarre ritual of hazing in hockey is getting more humiliating and dangerous, reports The Inside Track's host Mark Lee. One parent especially upset about it is Walter Gretzky, father of the Great One, Wayne Gretzky. With another son still playing minor hockey, he's putting his foot down in hopes that junior hockey in Canada will develop a national policy to stamp out such initiation rites. Also this week, a look at the Canadian thoroughbred horse racing business finds it's the small owner that keeps the sport thriving.
• The article Walter Gretzky refers to in this interview is probably an account in the Toronto Star on Oct. 24, 1988, of a hazing incident at Kent State University. It involved two Toronto area teens both starting their rookie seasons at the university on hockey scholarships. The report indicated that several boys were taped-up, shaved and forced to drink large amounts of a beer-rum mixture. After one of the boys landed in hospital, five players faced criminal charges and the university suspended the team's season. • Although it came several years after Walter Gretzky called for a complete ban on hazing, Hockey Canada does now have a strict policy against the practice with stiff fines for infractions. It also trains all affiliated amateur hockey coaches with a three-hour course through the Canadian Red Cross that deals with harassment, abuse and hazing.

• Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto is the only racetrack in North America that stages both thoroughbred and standardbred (harness) racing events on the same day. Woodbine also hosts two of the three events of the Canadian thoroughbred racing Triple Crown, the Queen's Plate and the Breeders' Stakes. The third event, the Princess of Wales Stakes, runs every July at the Fort Erie Racetrack in Fort Erie, Ont.

• The answers to the trivia contest heard in this clip are Donald Jackson and Vern Taylor. Jackson was the first to land a triple Lutz in competition, at the World Championships in Prague in 1962. Taylor was the first to complete a triple Axel in competition, at the World Championships in Ottawa in 1978.

Medium: Radio
Program: The Inside Track
Broadcast Date: Oct. 29, 1988
Guest(s): Kurt Browning, Walter Gretzky, Mike Nozewenko, Nick Nozewenko, John Whitson
Commentator: Felicia Halpern
Host: Mark Lee
Reporter: Rod Smith
Duration: 22:28

Last updated: March 21, 2012

Page consulted on September 10, 2014

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