The women’s varsity hockey team has been suspended for the remainder of the season at Dalhousie University due to a hazing incident involving the team’s rookies.
Details of the incident are not being made public but the severity of the punishment handed down by the university speaks volumes as to how seriously it’s being treated on campus.
All traces of the team have been removed from the Tiger’s hockey webpage.
“All players, except the first-year players, have been suspended for the remainder of the 2012-2013 season,” confirms university spokesman Charles Crosby.
“We have zero tolerance when it comes to hazing and intimidation at Dal. When something like this comes to light we are going to take action.”
A media spokesperson with the Halifax Regional Police says no complaints have been filed with police so there will be no criminal investigation.
Crosby wouldn’t elaborate on what exactly took place, saying he is protecting player privacy, but insists the punishment suits the acts.
“It involved humiliation, intimidation, personal disrespect, excessive drinking.”
Crosby says a parent of one of the five first-year players who was hazed filed a complaint with the university, which sparked a three-month internal investigation.
As a result, the women’s hockey season is over.
“It’s never good news when you lose half a season of a program, I mean this is the first time in my 14 years that this has happened,” says Phil Currie, executive director of Atlantic University Sport.
“Our student athletes know that hazing is just not a condonable activity, and I’m sure that this weighs very heavily on the decision makers at Dal.”
“It’s been an unfortunate sense of timing,” says Crosby.
The suspension comes at a time when the men’s hockey team is being investigated for alleged improper athletic financial awards, which means players may have been paid and the team is now facing sanctions by Canadian Interuniversity Sport.
“This is not an easy situation, I mean, to have your women’s hockey program suspended for half of a season and to have your men’s hockey program under a microscope by the national body,” says Currie.
Crosby says the university is offering counseling and educational programs to help athletes deal with the incident and to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
He also says there will be a women’s hockey team at the university next year.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Paul Hollingsworth