Daniel Carcillo leads class-action lawsuit against Canadian Hockey League for alleged physical and sexual abuse
Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo is a lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey league, alleging he and other teenage players were “routinely victims to hazing, bullying, physical and verbal harassment, physical assault, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.”
The lawsuit was filed Thursday with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Garrett Taylor, who played in the Western Hockey League from 2008 to 2010, joins Carcillo as the other lead plaintiff.
“This case is on behalf of underage minors who suffered violent hazing, physical and sexual assault and psychological trauma while playing major junior hockey,” Carcillo said in a statement. “I was one of those kids when I played in the OHL. I know there are many more just like me.”
ESPN obtained a copy of the lawsuit, which includes several disturbing allegations. Carcillo states that he and other rookies “were repetitively hit on their bare buttocks with a sawed-off goalie stick, developing large welts and open sores” and often had to strip naked on the team bus where they were “sent into the bus bathroom, eight at a time.”
The lawsuit alleges that the head coach, assistant coaches and league officials knew of the abuse. According to the lawsuit, Carcillo and other players from the Sarnia Sting reported the abuse while playing for Canada’s national team at the junior championships. After an “informal investigation by the OHL and/or CHL agents,” no findings were released and no steps were taken to address the alleged abuse.
The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract. It also calls for a declaration that the teams and the leagues are “vicariously liable for abuse perpetrated by their employees and players.”
The CHL is the largest development hockey league in the world with 52 Canadian and eight American teams participating in the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL.
This lawsuit is the latest in a reckoning for hockey, which has been grappling with troubling abuse claims for most of this season. In November, Calgary Flames coach Bill Peters resigned after a former player, Akim Aliu, alleged the coach directed a racial slur while they were in the minors together 10 years ago.
Earlier this week, former Ontario Hockey League forward Eric Guest alleged in an Instagram video that he was forced to do cocaine in a bathroom as a rookie with the Kitchener Rangers in 2016. The OHL has launched an investigation into Guest’s claims.
Greg Wyshynski contributed to this report.