Philadelphia Flyers left wing Daniel Carcillo is restrained by referee Ian Walsh (29) in the first period against the Minnesota Wild during a preseason NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., on September 25, 2010. Daniel Carcillo spoke out on Saturday night about his experience with hazing while a member of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, detailing how he feels Canada’s hockey culture needs to change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Andy King

Philadelphia Flyers left wing Daniel Carcillo is restrained by referee Ian Walsh (29) in the first period against the Minnesota Wild during a preseason NHL hockey game in St. Paul, Minn., on September 25, 2010. Daniel Carcillo spoke out on Saturday night about his experience with hazing while a member of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, detailing how he feels Canada’s hockey culture needs to change. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Andy King

NHL player Carcillo speaks out on alleged hazing experience

Daniel Carcillo took to Twitter to talk about his time on the Sarnia Sting

Daniel Carcillo has had enough. Enough of keeping his mouth shut, enough of protecting the people who hurt him.

In two lengthy Twitter threads over the weekend, the two-time Stanley Cup winner outlined some of the alleged bullying and hazing he suffered through as a 17-year-old rookie on the Sarnia Sting over the course of the 2002-03 Ontario Hockey League season.

“That was the worst year of my life. And I got drafted to the NHL and achieved my dreams,” Carcillo, a third-round pick of the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2003 draft, said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press on Monday. “So think about that statement.

“That was, by far, the hardest year of my life. No doubt about it.”

RELATED: Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

Carcillo, 33, was inspired to open up about his experience after news broke about an alleged sexual assault involving athletes at St. Michael’s College School, an all-boys private school in Toronto, that was captured on camera. The native of King City, Ont., also thought it would be helpful to share his story as part of Twitter’s Bullying Awareness Week.

From his verified Twitter account, Carcillo spoke of being beaten with the sawed off paddle of a goaltender’s hockey stick on a daily basis. He also described a “shower train” where rookies were forced to sit on the floor in the shower as veterans urinated or spit chewing tobacco on or near them, sometimes throwing shaving cream at them as well.

Carcillo described further shocking scenes to The Canadian Press, including being forced to bob for apples in a cooler filled with waste including pizza, urine, and spit.

“There’s no stopping me (sharing these stories). This sport and that culture has taken a lot from me,” said Carcillo, who was a plaintiff in a class action lawsuit against the NHL over the league’s handling of head injuries. A tentative US$18.9-million settlement in that lawsuit was announced on Nov. 12.

“I just want to make sure that people understand these uncomfortable truths. That parents understand what really goes on and that it happens way more often than just me talking about it.”

Carcillo said that he reached a breaking point in 2003 when he and six or seven other rookies were stuffed into the washroom on a charter bus during a 45-minute trip between Sarnia, Ont., and London, Ont. As the shirtless players were stuffed into the confined space, Carcillo said veteran players spat their chewing tobacco through an air vent. When they were released from the washroom, Carcillo said he and a fellow rookie came out swinging, fighting their teammates.

During that season, Carcillo contacted David Branch, commissioner of the OHL, telling him of the ongoing issues in the Sting’s locker-room. Branch was not available for comment on Monday, but a spokesperson from the league said that Branch brought the issue to the attention of Sarnia’s ownership and management groups and began initiating harsh fines and penalties for teams that were caught hazing players.

“As acknowledged by Daniel Carcillo in several of his online posts, the OHL did react to the concerns he raised during his rookie season,” reads an official statement issued by the OHL to The Canadian Press.

“The league, which has a zero tolerance on hazing, has been implementing policies to prevent hazing or bullying for several years. Today in the OHL all players receive training on the prevention of bullying and hazing through their member team. All players acknowledge to the league in writing that they have participated in this training process. Players are encouraged to bring any concerns forward without fear of reprisal.”

In October 2005, Windsor Spitfires’ Moe Mantha was given a one-year suspension as general manager and 25 games as coach for a hazing incident involving several of his players. Then in 2009 the OHL’s board of governors developed the OHL Enforcement Program, designed to address and attempt to eliminate violations of the hazing rules and impose appropriate penalties if violations occur.

Jeff Perry, Sarnia’s head coach in 2002-03, says he was concerned for Carcillo and disappointed in his veteran players when he read Carcillo’s allegations this past weekend.

“Certainly it’s something that, at the time, we were unaware of. It’s nothing that the Sarnia Sting or the management group or the coaching staff would support or condone if those allegations were true,” said Perry. ”Hard to make a formal comment, other than, obviously it’s affected Dan, who I think is a great young man, gone on to have a terrific career.

“Certainly it’s concerning to hear that these events possibly took place.”

RELATED: Former students share stories of bullying at St. Michael’s dating back decades

In a story published in the Players’ Tribune online magazine on July 1, 2015, former Sting forward Rich Clune — a year younger than Carcillo — alluded to hazing issues in Sarnia when he joined the team for the 2003-2004 season.

“This was back in the days when physical hazing was pretty prominent, but luckily one of the older guys on the team, Daniel Carcillo, stuck up for me for some reason and made sure the older guys didn’t mess with me too bad,” said Clune. ”I’ll always love him for that.”

Unrestricted free agent Shawn Matthias tweeted Carcillo’s series of posts, saying his experience as a rookie on the OHL’s Belleville Bulls left him “an angry confused young man,” until he joined the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets where he said head coach Paul Maurice and other members of the organization helped him overcome his trauma. Matthias did not immediately respond to an interview request from The Canadian Press and Maurice declined comment.

Perry made the point that coaches can’t be everywhere and that alleged incidents like the “shower train” that Carcillo described on Twitter can easily happen without the knowledge of coaches.

“We can’t stand in the shower areas for obvious reasons,” said Perry. “There’s certain areas in a room where we can’t monitor as a staff or watch 24/7. You would certainly hope that your leadership group, your veteran players, wouldn’t do the things that are being alleged by Daniel.

“You would hope that you would have better character in your room. That’s the disappointing fact that if it did take place you would certainly would be disappointed in your veterans.”

Carcillo, however, insists that Perry was aware of the treatment that he and other rookies were subjected to.

“To be honest, I like Jeff, I really do. I don’t blame him. I don’t blame him, I don’t blame (assistant coach Greg Walters),” said Carcillo. “I blame the guys who did it to me. Straight up. And I always will.

“I’ve moved past this. I’ve shook their hands at bowling tournaments in Toronto. Part of me wanted to knock them out on the spot and part of me … fake it until you make it.

“I don’t want to blow these guys’ lives up because some of them are still hanging on in the minors.”

At the time of the alleged incidents the Sting were owned by the Ciccarelli brothers, with Rob Ciccarelli acting as team president and governor until January 2015 when the team was sold to former NHLers Derian Hatcher and David Legwand. Rob Ciccarelli also did not immediately respond to an interview request with The Canadian Press.

John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A sign indicating a COVID-19 testing site is displayed inside a parking garage in West Nyack, N.Y., Monday, Nov. 30, 2020. The site was only open to students and staff of Rockland County schools in an effort to test enough people to keep the schools open for in-person learning. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
4 more deaths, 54 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

This brings the total to 66 deaths in the region

Okanagan Clinical Trials is looking at gut bacteria as a way of slowing down the development of Alzheimer’s. (Alzheimer Society of B.C. photo)
Okanagan study looking for volunteers of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

The study is looking at how gut bacteria may help slow the disease

Kamala Harris is sworn in as vice president by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor as her husband Doug Emhoff looks on at the inauguration of U.S. President Joe Biden on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021, in Washington, D.C. (Alex Wong/Getty Images/TNS)
EDITORIAL: Uneasy elements must be faced head-on

Electoral tensions in the United States could happen in Canada as well

The Summerland Minor Hockey Association has had to make changes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Games, such as this one from 2018, are not allowed, but players have been working on skills development. (Summerland Review file photo)
Summerland minor hockey focuses on skills development

Ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected practices for young players

A GoFundMe campaign for a display of unity quickly received donations. The initiative, by the Lekhi family of Summerland, began days after their home had been targeted by vandalism and racist graffiti. Discussions are now taking place to determine where an art piece promoting unity will be located. (GoFundMe.com)
Artwork in Summerland to show message of inclusivity

Initiative began following vandalism of Indo-Canadian family’s home in July

Dr. Penny Ballem, a former deputy health minister, discusses her role in leading B.C.’s COVID-19 vaccination program, at the B.C. legislature, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. holds steady with 407 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday

14 deaths, no new outbreaks in the health care system

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to reports of a structure fire on Valleyview Place Jan. 26, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Vernon Morning Star)
Fire snuffed in Vernon home

No visible smoke, flames from area of reported structure fire

A Cessna 170 airplane similar to the one pictured above is reported to be missing off the waters between Victoria and Washington State. Twitter photo/USCG
Canadian, American rescue crews searching for missing aircraft in waters near Victoria

The search is centered around the waters northeast of Port Angeles

Kevin Lee Barrett pleaded guilty to the aggravated assault of his mother Eleanor Holmes on Tuesday, Jan. 26. (File)
West Kelowna man who beat his mom could be sentenced up to 9 years

Kevin Barrett entered a surprise guilty plea to the lesser charge of aggravated assault on Tuesday morning

Interior Health reported two more COVID-19 deaths at Sunnybank Retirement Center in Oliver Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 claims lives of two more South Okanagan care home residents

Five residents of the Oliver care home have died since the outbreak was first declared

Vernon now has an approved 13 cannabis shops in town. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon, the ‘Pot capital of B.C.’ greenlights two new stores downtown

Two more shops, within 240 metres, approved, despite neighbouring businesses opposition

11 more cases of COVID-19 have been linked to a cluster on Big White Mountain. Pictured above is TELUS park at Big White Ski Resort, Jan. 26. (Big White Ski Resort)
11 more cases of COVID-19 linked to Big White cluster

This brings the total case count to 225, according to health authorities in a Tuesday update

Jonathon Muzychka and Dean Reber are wanted on Canada-wide warrants. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
Convicted killer, robber at large after failing to return to facility: Victoria police

Dean Reber, 60, and Jonathon Muzychka, 43, may be together

Oliver Elementary School
Former Oliver PAC treasurer charged with fraud returns to court

Belinda Yorke will be in court to fix a date for trial in February

Most Read