Former Sting coach says culture has changed

Jeff Perry, Sarnia Sting head coach 2002-2003

A former Sarnia Sting head coach says the Ontario Hockey League and society have come a long way in addressing bullying and abuse.

Jeff Perry was the Sting coach in 2002-2003, the year former NHLer Daniel Carcillo claims to have been subjected to daily abuse and hazing at the hands of veteran players.

Perry said, that at the time, they were unaware of the alleged incidents.

“There are certain areas of a dressing room that we don’t monitor, it’s no different than riding the bus,” said Perry. “I know people think you’re on the bus, how could you not be aware of it. When you sit at the front of the bus, you’ve got movies on. Unless you’ve been in that situation, you’d understand that they’re easy things that you wouldn’t be aware of if it wasn’t brought to your attention.”

In an emailed statement, the Ontario Hockey League said it has adopted a zero-tolerance approach to hazing, and has been implementing policies to prevent hazing or bullying for several years.

Perry said the culture has changed.

“It is different now,” said Perry. “It doesn’t make it right back then but I think we’re just so much more educated on harassment and bullying in general. They’ve done a great job doing the right thing. My big thing is I have a teenage kid that just went through junior hockey and I’m thankful that he doesn’t have to share these same stories because he didn’t go through those situations.”

Carcillo, in a lengthy series of posts on Twitter on the weekend, detailed allegations of abuse he endured, as a 17-year-old, during his rookie season.

He said he came forward with his story after news broke about allegations of abuse involving athletes at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto.

-With files from Dave Dentinger