Dalhousie hazing suspensions prompt surprise, apathy
Women's hockey team players suspended after rookie players subjected to 'humiliation'
Dalhousie University students reacted with both surprise and apathy to news that the Dalhousie Tigers women's hockey team had forfeited the rest of the season after most of its members were suspended following an investigation into a hazing incident.
On Thursday, 19 of the 24 players on the team were suspended for the season after an investigation into a September hazing involving rookie members of the team at a private house party.
With only five players remaining — all first-year players — it was impossible to put together a team for the rest of the season.
"This year we didn't have any hazing issues at all on our team," said Devon Stedman, a player for the Dalhousie Tigers men's basketball team.
"That's why we were pretty surprised when we found out that something like that, I guess, was serious enough to get the team suspended for the year."
University officials have remained tight-lipped about the nature of the hazing and have only said it involved "humiliation, intimidation and excessive drinking."
Charles Crosby, a spokesman for Dalhousie University, said many of the team's players were "put in harm's way" both physically and psychologically.
By Friday afternoon, all traces of the women's hockey team had been removed from Dalhousie University's website and replaced with a notice of the suspension due to a "serious hazing incident."
"Dalhousie does not tolerate such behaviour. These actions do not embody the values that lie at the centre of athletics and student life," the statement said.
"The university is committed to working with the team and athletic staff to take steps to ensure nothing like this happens again."
Not an epidemic, says sport organization
In addition to the suspensions, the captains were also relieved of their positions.
Jessica Nilsson, a student at the university, said without concrete details, people are forced to speculate on what happened and may not be able to learn from the incident.
"That can be a problem as well. It depends on what kind of stuff it is," she told CBC News.
"Do you want that kind of culture to linger on if people suffer from it and the team? That depends on what kind of stuff it is."
Other students remained unfazed.
"I don't really know how much the Dalhousie student body has a connection to its sports culture," said Peter Smith.
Meanwhile, Atlantic University Sport said it respects Dalhousie University's decision.
"When I look at my own experience and playing sports I think that team building is positive and can move things forward. I think it transitions into hazing when it becomes uncomfortable for somebody," said Phil Currie, the executive director of AUS.
"Is this epidemic? I don't think so. I mean in society we have situations every day that are counter to what we as human beings think is the right and wrong way to conduct ourselves."
The university has said the suspended players will not face any academic penalties and will be allowed to try out for the team next season.