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Former NHL player Daniel Carcillo’s biggest fight yet is against the CHL and a vicious culture of hazing



Daniel Carcillo in Chicago, July 25, 2018.WHITTEN SABBATINI/The New York Times News Service

This story contains graphic content.

During nine seasons in the NHL, Daniel Carcillo racked up more than 1,200 penalty minutes, nine suspensions, and about 100 fights. After retiring, he led a battle against the league over its handling of concussions and players who suffered brain trauma. But the fight he’s in now may be the most consequential yet, as he seeks to hold major-junior hockey in Canada accountable for enabling a widespread hazing culture of assault and abuse, which an Ontario Superior Court judge characterized as an “evil that has persisted for half a century.”

In a decision released earlier this month, Justice Paul Perell declined to certify a class-action lawsuit filed in 2020 by Carcillo and two co-plaintiffs against the Canadian Hockey League, the three leagues it comprises (the WHL, OHL, and QMJHL) and their 60 teams, writing that the plaintiffs “have not produced a workable litigation plan because it is not conceivable that such a plan could be fashioned to deal in one class action” with the sprawling suit.

But the judge left the door open for the case to proceed, directing the plaintiffs’ lawyers to return within 120 days with an alternate plan.


And he acknowledged that the evidence he read, including sworn statements from a series of unidentified players who alleged they suffered horrific abuse as young as 15, “establishes that some unknown number of … players … were tortured, forcibly confined, shaved, stripped, drugged, intoxicated, physically and sexually assaulted; raped, gang raped, forced to physically and sexually assault other teammates.”

He added that the players were, “compelled to sexually assault and gang rape young women invited to team parties, forced to eat or drink urine, saliva, semen, feces, or other noxious substances; forced to perform acts of self-injury, forced to perform acts of bestiality.”

And he blasted the defendants’ insistence that the culture has changed, pointing to an independent report commissioned by the CHL in 2020, after Carcillo filed his suit, that found at least 12 per cent of players then active in the league who participated in a survey had personally experienced bullying or harassment.

The judge, who was born in 1947 and grew up in Hamilton, seemed to take the case personally: His decision was leavened with references to Stompin’ Tom Connors’s The Hockey Song and his own childhood memories of cheering for the Hamilton Red Wings in the 1962 Memorial Cup and attending his first NHL game at Maple Leaf Gardens, in which the Leafs took on “Les Habs and Rocket Richard.”

Last Sunday night, Carcillo, who won the Stanley Cup twice with the Chicago Blackhawks, spoke about the suit on Radio-Canada’s Tous le monde en parle in advance of a Quebec National Assembly committee beginning hearings into the matter on Wednesday.

QMJHL commissioner Gilles Corteau told the committee that the league would introduce a locker-room code to promote the reporting of abuse. “There is a moment when the locker-room door closes. From now on, the QMJHL wants to install a window.”

CHL president Dan MacKenzie told the commission the events that had come to light “happened decades ago and there have been significant improvements in the last 20 years.” He added that CHL players would undergo mandatory respect training. “We think this is a very important step in educating our players.”

In an interview with The Globe and Mail on Thursday, Carcillo, who played for the OHL’s Sarnia Sting and Mississauga IceDogs, said that he doesn’t believe the leagues can reform themselves. “How can we trust these people? They’ve known about this for decades, and it’s in everybody’s best interest in the Canadian Hockey League to not have these stories come out,” he said, noting that CHL teams receive compensation when one of their players makes it to the NHL, creating a disincentive for them to act against a promising prospect who might be the subject of a complaint.

Instead, he said, “you need to put people in places of power that have been through this abuse. So they know intimately,” what they need to look out for and how to tackle the culture of silence.

Carcillo, 38, first spoke about his own hazing experiences in late 2018, when he says reading accounts of the sexual assault at St. Michael’s College in Toronto spurred him to remember his traumatic hazing experiences, which he’d buried. Other players sent him notes about their own experiences, which eventually coalesced into the lawsuit.

The action, the judge wrote, came at “great personal cost” for Carcillo and his co-plaintiffs, Garrett Taylor, who played for the WHL’s Lethbridge Hurricanes and Prince Albert Raiders, and Stephen Quirk, who played for the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats and the Halifax Mooseheads.

“The hockey community has closed its door on me – but that was kind of a mutual decision, because as soon as you do something like this, you know that you’re going to become a martyr. So I was okay with that,” said Carcillo, who retired when he was 30. “I’ve lost best friends. I’ve lost money, I’ve lost opportunities. I’ve lost a lot, but I’ve also gained a lot. I’ve gained who I am as a person, right? I feel sorry for a lot of people that stay in hockey for their whole life, because I don’t think they ever really understand who they are away from the game.”

Carcillo says that he’s not pursuing the suit for money. “I don’t need money. And in fact if there’s ever any money that comes my way, it will get donated,” he said. “But a lot of the guys that got sexually abused that didn’t make it to the NHL, specifically because of this type of trauma that dictated how they live their lives – they need compensation to go and get therapy.”

Still, he says that he’s not trying to fix the institutions that oversee hockey. “I really don’t care about the game. I just care about trying to protect people. And I’m really passionate about holding people accountable. Some of the guys that abused some of [the former players who submitted sworn statements], they’re general managers of NHL teams. They need to be removed. They’re coaches. They need to be held accountable in the public eye.”

“I held myself accountable. I’m not an angel. I did things that I regret and I apologized for, to everybody, in the public eye. I feel like these guys need to do the same, and they need to get rehabilitated, and then maybe they’re allowed to come back. It’s not about cancel culture, but these guys need to be outed, for sure.”

The same pugilistic spirit that animated so much of his on-ice play still fuels him today. “That’s how I am as a person. And so, I will not stop. I’m a young man, and if I have to do this for the next 20 years, I will. I’ll try my best to help all of the victims involved have their stories heard.

“So yeah, the fight continues. But I’m okay with that.”


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Raptors' Nick Nurse 'Gonna Take a Few Weeks to See Where I'm at' After Season Ends – Bleacher Report



Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse is unsure of his future with the franchise beyond the 2022-23 campaign.

Nurse told reporters ahead of Friday’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers that he’s going to take his time deciding on whether he wants to forge ahead as Toronto’s head coach beyond this season.

Nurse said, via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps:


“First of all, I think when this season gets done, we’ll evaluate everything, and even personally, I’m gonna take a few weeks to see where I’m at, you know? Like you said, where my head’s at. And just see how the relationship with the organization is and everything. It’s been 10 years for me now, which is a pretty good run. I don’t know, over those 10 years we got to be up there in number of wins with anybody in the league. I don’t know even know where that is, but we’ve had a lot of big seasons.

“And then, right now, my head is to make this as long of a season as possible. This team needs playoff experience. So that is where I’m at right now … finish out these six, see where we land, see if we can’t creep up a spot or two in the standings, and then give them hell in the playoffs, see if we can get in a real series and take it from there.”

Nurse added that he has not considered his future being somewhere other than Toronto after the 2022-23 campaign.

The 55-year-old has been with the franchise for 10 years. He has been head coach of the Raptors since the 2018-19 season and he served as an assistant for the franchise under Dwane Casey from 2013 to ’18.

In his five seasons as Toronto’s head coach, the team has gone 224-160 and has made three postseason appearances, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2019, where the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in six games.

However, the Raptors have struggled to a 38-38 record this season entering Friday’s game against the Sixers. The team currently sits ninth in the Eastern Conference and isn’t expected to contend for a title this year.

If Nurse and the Raptors part ways after this season, it will be interesting to see whether he retires or searches for another head coaching gig. He has been linked to the Houston Rockets, but there’s been no indication that he would take that job.

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Harnden brothers together again for World Curling Championship – SooToday



With the World Men’s Curling Championship set to open up in Ottawa this weekend, E.J. and Ryan Harnden are set to reunite on the curling rink.

The Sault Ste. Marie brothers, who were teammates for years with Brad Jacobs and his northern Ontario-based team for years before the team disbanded at the end of last season, are back together as members of Brad Gushue’s Newfoundland and Labrador-based team that will represent Canada at the tournament.

E.J. joined the Gushue rink full time in the off-season while Ryan will be with the team as an alternate.


“Joining E.J. is going to be special,” Ryan said. “Joining a group like these guys, who have won so much over the last seven years, I have a tremendous amount of respect for this team. We’ve battled in some big games over the course of our careers, but that respect level has always been there.”

“Anything I need to do, anything they want me to do, I’ll be there to help make their lives a little bit easier so they can relax and focus on curling. That’s my primary goal,” Ryan added.

Gushue said experience played a role in adding Ryan as their alternate.

“Ryan has been one of the best leads in the world the last number of years,” Gushue said. “The ability for him late at night to go out and match rocks for us, we’re going to be confident that whatever he says, whatever he gives us, they’re going to be pretty darn close.”

Gushue added that familiarity with the team also helped.

“The familiarity there and the comfort he’s going to provide to the team,” Gushue said. “It’s not like he’s coming in and we need to learn about him.”

Ryan also said that getting a chance to join the Gushue rink took some of the sting off losing in the Brier final with Matt Dunstone’s Manitoba-based team.

“To come that close, it was obviously very disappointing,” Ryan said. “I’m honoured and very excited to join these guys. They’re a team I’ve respected for a very long time.”

E.J. called having brother Ryan joining the team for the Worlds “special.”

“Going back to that, obviously it was extremely hard playing against Ryan,” E.J. said of the Brier final. “We have a really close relationship and I think everyone got a really good inside look at that throughout the Brier and especially into the playoff round and the type of relationship that we do have. Both of us were very honest and genuine when we said, as hard as it was, that was a perfect scenario because at least one of us was going to win.”

E.J. added that “I probably felt every single emotion that I was able to feel simultaneously once we won.”

Both Harnden brothers also reflected on their last World Men’s Curling Championship appearance, which was 10 years ago with Brad Jacobs’ rink.

“We were a bit of a deer in the headlights at that first Worlds,” Ryan said. “Being quite new onto the scene, we had some ups and downs. That prepared us very well for Sochi, even though the Olympics is a bit of a different beast. Having that international experience kind of opened our eyes of how much pressure there is wearing that Canadian flag.”

“It’s hard to prepare for what that feels like when you’re now representing your country,” E.J. added. “That was a great learning experience for us to be able to separate from those expectations and focus on what it is that we need to do as individuals and as a team in order to maximize our play on the ice and focus on the things that are within our control.”

E.J. joined the Gushue rink in the off-season after Team Jacobs announced near the end of last season that Jacobs was stepping away from competitive men’s curling for the time being.  E.J. said transitioning to his new team has been “going great.”

“To still be able to learn and absorb knowledge has been great,” E.J. said. “I feel like that’s only going to help me of these next number of years continue to improve and become even a better player than I am now, which is a great feeling.”

E.J. added that his new teammates – Gushue, Mark Nichols, and Geoff Walker – “have been really easy to get along with.”

With E.J. and Caleb Flaxey, also a Sault native, on the team this year, Gushue said both have mixed in well, E.J. as second and Flaxey as a coach.

“We’re at very similar stages in our life. We’re similar ages and have a lot of similar interests. We have good chats and it’s nice to be able to bounce some stuff off him and him bounce some stuff off me and we also like our quiet time too,” Gushue said of E.J.

“Caleb’s very detail-oriented,” Gushue added. “It’s nice to have him on board and take care of a lot of the stuff, some of the things I had to deal with over the last number of years.”

Gushue joked that while Flaxey’s rock experience wasn’t quite at the level of longtime Canadian curling coach Jules Owchar, Flaxey is “just probably a little bit more organized than Jules.”

“Jules still does everything by paper and pen,” Gushue joked. “He’s pretty old-school where Caleb gets the laptop out.”

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Ryan O'Reilly on his broken finger and injury rehab: "They said I needed surgery, so I'm thinking, 'Am I done for the season?' The timeline gave me relief… Playoffs are all that really matters” – Maple Leafs Hot Stove



Photo: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports

For the first time since breaking his finger, Ryan O’Reilly met with the media to discuss his return to practice, his injury rehab, and the plan to ramp up for the playoffs.

How does the finger feel right now?

O’Reilly: It feels good. It has been four weeks now since it happened, but it feels good. We’re progressing. It is not 100% yet. We have to be smart. The goal is to be 100% for the playoffs.

It was nice to be out there skating with the guys. We are getting close here.


Would you be playing if this was the playoffs right now?

O’Reilly: Possibly. It is tough to say. We are in a good position with having the points.

It does feel good. It is just being smart and making sure we don’t have setbacks and can be ready for the right time.

Was there a sinking feeling and you knew right away when the puck hit you? 

O’Reilly: I didn’t really know until I got off and was getting changed. Paul [Ayotte] the trainer came over, asked, and wanted to look at it. I kind of saw it was crooked. I knew it wasn’t good.

We saw the x-ray, and obviously, it was disappointing. But I didn’t really know. They said I probably needed surgery, so I didn’t know how long. Am I done for the season or not?

It was kind of good news that I wouldn’t be out too long and that it happened early enough. It wasn’t later in the season. I am just focused on getting ready for the playoffs.

How long did it take for you to find out the severity of it?

O’Reilly: It wasn’t too long after. They kind of gave me a timeline of four-to-six weeks after doing the surgery on it. I was really disappointed, but that kind of gave me relief with regard to the playoffs. That’s all that really matters.

What is the final piece you are waiting for until it would be 100%?

O’Reilly: The shooting and passing feel great. It is just the other stuff — the stick battles and all of that, and just being able to trust that it’s 100% strong in that.

Again, that is going to come. It is progressing. I feel like I could push it harder, but there is no point. We just have to be smart with it and make sure it heals the right way. It will help me down the road.

Does the fact that it is the lower hand on the stick make it more impactful?

O’Reilly: The top hand does a lot of work, too. Both do different things. For faceoffs, it is the bottom hand that carries a lot of the force, too. Either or play a vital part in it. It is just an unfortunate break. It happens.

Are you going to wear a modified glove when you come back to protect it?

O’Reilly: Possibly. Right now, I am wearing something that can protect it a little better. As we progress, we will kind of revisit it and see.

Have you circled a game for a return?

O’Reilly: No, we are kind of just taking it every couple of days, evaluating it, and seeing where we are at. We don’t really have a target yet.

Is it nice to be back into the full practice?

O’Reilly: I don’t like being in the red [jersey]. It stands out a little too much.

It was a good first practice to get back into the feel and be out there with other bodies. I think it will start from there.

How significant are the final few games and making sure you get into a game or two?

O’Reilly: Those will be great. It will be good for our lineup, too, to see how we are going to approach that first game and for me to get the timing back. You can skate all you want in practice, but the feel of the game, the pushing, the competing is something that you can’t really replicate.

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