Vancouver Giants are among the 60+ teams named in a cross-Canada lawsuit alleging hazing, bully, and abuse of young players over the past four decades. (Rik Fedyck/Vancouver Giants files)

Vancouver Giants named in nation-wide lawsuit claiming teen player abuse

Class-action suit alleges hazing, bullying, and more over decades involving different teams

A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the Canadian Hockey League and its member teams – including the Langley-based Vancouver Giants – alleging ritualized hazing, widespread physical and sexual abuse, and other trauma caused to young players in the major junior hockey league over a period of years, this from a statement of claim filed in Toronto courts this week.

Toronto-based Koskie Minsky LLP has filed the class-action lawsuit claiming systemic abuse suffered by teenagers playing in the Canadian major junior hockey leagues dating back at least four decades, lead lawyer James Sayce told the Langley Advance Times.

“We’re talking about 1980s, the 1990s, 2000s… These are historic abuse claims,” he said.

The lawsuit also alleges racism, homophobia, and violence against players as young as 15.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

After “many months” of preparation, the suit was filed in Ontario Superior Court of Justice Thursday against the Canadian Hockey League and its three member organizations — the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League — as well as some 60 teams that play under the CHL umbrella. That includes the Vancouver Junior Hockey Limited Partnership and Vancouver Junior Hockey Partnership, Ltd. (known as Vancouver Giants).

The lawsuit seeks damages for negligence, breach of fiduciary duty, and breach of contract, and a declaration that the teams and the leagues are vicariously liable for abuse perpetrated by their employees and players.

“A case like this is quite complicated,” Sayce said.

The lawsuit was filed by former NHL player Daniel Carcillo and former WHL player Garrett Taylor, but the lawyer alleges the problem is much bigger and broader than that.

“There are many, many more than two people who have suffered this abuse,” Sayce said, claiming more are still coming forward as news of the class-action suit spreads. “These [two] are our figureheads who are spearheading the claim.”

The proposed class, in this case, is made up of anyone who played junior hockey in one of the above leagues while under the age of 18, Sayce explained.

“We know there are many others, and we’ve had many others be in touch with us,” Sayce added. “But we, of course, want people to come forward and tell us their stories, so we can share them – if that’s what they’re interested in. I mean there’s power in numbers.”

The abuse goes back “quite a ways,” Sayce alleged, accusing senior players, coaching staff, and other team officials of either participating in or knowing of the abuse but doing nothing to protect the younger players (often rookies) or to end the abuse.

“Canadian major junior hockey has been plagued by rampant hazing, bullying, and abuse of underage players, by coaches, team staff, and senior players. Survivors of such abuse have come forward and continue to come forward to this day. However, the defendants have stubbornly ignored or failed to reasonably address this institutionalized and systemic abuse,” the claim summarized (See full statement of claim at bottom of this story).

Carcillo played for the OHL’s Sarnia Sting from 2002-05, before going on to play more than nine seasons in the NHL and earned Stanley Cup rings with Chicago in 2013 and 2015. He’s been described as an advocate for players’ rights since retiring in 2015.

He claims to have suffered through a full year of “almost constant and repetitive abuse” while playing as a rookie for the Sarnia Sting in 2002 at the hands of older players – experiences that have left him “permanently traumatized,” says the statement of claim.

“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.”

Taylor, who played in the Western Hockey League from 2008-10 with the Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders, had a short pro-career. He claims abuse while in Lethbridge at the age of 17, and said he too has never gotten over it, requiring hospitalization after leaving the WHL. In the claim, he indicates coaches and team officials were aware of the abuse and some actually participated in it.

The current head coach of the Langley-based Vancouver Giants, Michael Dyck, was a coach in Lethbridge during the time in question.

Giants: Michael Dyck bio

“I don’t have any comment on Mr. Dyck or Michael Dyck. We’re just alleging a systemic claim here… We’re not going after or seeking to sue individual coaches or wrong-doers or players. This is a case about systemic wrongdoing,” Sayce said.

The Giants declined to comment about the lawsuit, while the communications director for the WHL said there is no official comment from the organization at this time.

.

– with files from The Canadian Press

.

_________________________________

Is there more to this story?

Email: news@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

_________________________________

Statement of Claim – Ontario Action (Issued June 18, 2020) by hcolpitts on Scribd

class-action lawsuithockeyVancouver Giants

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

Just Posted

Thomas Dawson Peacock
Surrey man, 32, charged with sexual interference

Incidents alleged to have happened in both Surrey and Abbotsford

A Mercedes SUV is covered at a gas station in the Clayton area following a deadly shooting there on Sept. 28, 2019. (File photo)
The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region over the last week.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
CHARTS: Weekly COVID-19 case double in Fraser North health area, up 50% in Vancouver

The number of new COVID-19 cases has risen sharply in Vancouver and the Fraser North region.

Kristjon Olson in a photo released by Surrey RCMP.
High-risk offender back in custody facing child-porn charges, Surrey Mounties say

News of Kristjon Otto Olson’s arrest is posted to Surrey RCMP’s website

(Delta Police Department photo)
No offence in second incident involving a teen girl being approached in Tsawwassen: police

Police still investigating incident on Oct. 15 where teen girl was approached by older man in a burgundy car

Physical distancing signs are a common sight in B.C. stores and businesses. THE CANADIAN PRESS
272 more COVID-19 cases for B.C., outbreak at oil sands project

Three new health care outbreaks, three declared over

This house at 414 Royal Ave. became notorious for its residents’ and visitors’ penchant for attracting police. It was also the site of a gruesome torture in August 2018. It was demolished in 2019. KTW
6-year sentence for Kamloops man who helped carve ‘rat’ into flesh of fellow gang member

Ricky Dennis was one of three men involved in the August 2018 attack

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Among the pumpkin carvings created this year by Rick Chong of Abbotsford is this tribute to fallen officer Cont. Allan Young.
Abbotsford pumpkin carver’s creations include fallen police officer

Rick Chong carves and displays 30 pumpkins every year

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

An online fundraising campaign in support of the six-year-old boy, Edgar Colby, who was hit by a car on Range Road Oct. 25 has raised more than $62,000 in a day. (Submitted)
$62K raised in 1 day for boy in coma at BC Children’s after being hit by vehicle in Yukon

The boy’s aunt says the family is “very grateful” for the support they’ve received from the community

The Excelsior 4 are set to make their second court appearance in Abbotsford on Monday (Nov. 2). (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
‘Excelsior 4’: Animal activists set to enter not guilty plea in Abbotsford hog farm case

Animal rights activists expected to plead not guilty to charges, protest for Vancouver scheduled

Dennis Cholowski shows off a Jordan 2 Retro Just Don Blue sneaker, the type of shoe only a true sneakerhead would appreciate. (Facebook photo)
VIDEO: Chilliwack Chiefs alum Dennis Cholowski shows off ‘sneakerhead’ collection

The Detroit Red Wing has been spending his NHL paycheques building up an impressive closet of shoes

Health care employees take extensive precautions when working with people infected or suspected of having COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
WorkSafeBC disallows majority of COVID-19 job injury claims

Health care, social services employees filing the most claims

Most Read