Hazing, Harassment and Intimidation Allegations Made Against the Okanagan HC Hockey Organization
Disturbing allegations of player hazing, sexual harassment, cyberbullying and hosting “fight clubs” have been made against private hockey organization Okanagan HC.
These allegations were forwarded to the Kelowna RCMP, who are investigating misconduct within a West Kelowna hockey organization. The investigation is being conducted by the Vulnerable Persons Section of Kelowna, as the allegations include people under the age of 18.
In an emailed statement, Okanagan HC said it had not been contacted by the RCMP.
“…we will cooperate fully with any investigation. We do not tolerate any form of bullying or harassment…”
In a letter sent to a number of governing hockey associations by the father of a former U15 team member and obtained by Black Press Media, the allegations include allegations of players using other people’s toothbrushes team members to rub their asses and fill in other players. ‘ water bottles with cologne and urine.
The incidents are believed to have occurred during a team trip from September 20-25. None of the allegations have been proven.
The letter details another trip, where a player was allegedly pinned down while another player placed his butt in his face, as well as the relentless bullying of other team members on social media.
Capital News received multiple screenshots of team texts, social media posts and emails detailing the allegations outlined in the letter.
The father said his son had been bullied in person and online and was now barred from the Okanagan HC program.
“But I’m worried about the other kids on this program,” the father said in an interview. “I want to make sure this doesn’t happen to other kids anymore.”
Capital News decided not to publish the parent’s name to protect his son’s identity.
Launched around April of this year, Okanagan HC is part of the Junior Prospects Hockey League (JPHL) and owned by JMRH Hockey Development ULC, which also owns the West Kelowna Warriors of the BC Hockey League. . JMRH is owned by Okanagan businessman Rod Hume and US investment firm CEO John Murphy.
Okanagan HC has three teams: U18, U15 and U14.
Before sending the letter, the father said he had raised his concerns with Hume and the U15 coach but said they were ignored and the bullying of his son continued. He then casually met with Hume on September 29 and said Hume had indicated he would investigate.
“He responded in writing to my subsequent complaint and shut down the school’s social media accounts,” the father said. “My son has never met him and says Rod has never spoken to him. Rod claimed my son had missed two dates, and my response was if it’s serious you need to meet him.
The father said he tried several times to resolve his issues, but no formal meeting ever took place.
Capital News made several attempts to contact Hume for an interview. In a statement emailed by Okanagan HC, the organization said it is aware of a complaint filed by a parent regarding player behavior and does not tolerate any form of bullying or bullying. harassment.
“We are taking the complaint seriously and, in consultation with the Junior Prospects Hockey League, are engaging an independent legal firm to conduct an independent investigation. Recognizing that these issues affect minors, we must respect their privacy and will not disclose any personal or private information,” the statement read in part.
“Any violation of our discipline and code of conduct policy will be dealt with…up to and including a player’s suspension or dismissal.”
Capital News also contacted U15 coach Derek Bachynski by email and phone, but did not receive a response by the publication deadline.
A press release from the JPHL. pic.twitter.com/tIy5mnaFmy
— Junior Prospects Hockey League (@JrProspectsHL) October 28, 2022
JPHL President Richard Nault said in a separate statement that the league is investigating and would have further comments once it is complete.
‘Lord of the Flies HC’
The player’s mother said she understands numerous incidents occurred during a U15 team trip in September and there were no chaperone parents present that she was aware of.
“There have to be behavioral consequences and I haven’t seen anything like that happen here (Okanagan HC),” she said.
There are also allegations of a fight club involving players, called “Lord of the Flies HC”. Capital News has received video of two such incidents, both time-stamped in October, although it’s unclear how long the players had been fighting.
In a 38-second video, two young players believed to be part of the U14 squad can be seen in full gear, including their skates, aggressively punching each other as their teammates cheer them on until the one is ultimately declared the winner. The videos do not show if adults are in the room.
The mother said she was also made aware of the fight club.
“My son was asked to do it and he said no. I don’t think he was a party to any of these behaviors and so eventually they just started to backfire on him. The bullying, the hazing, the treatment of my son only got progressively worse.
Former U14 team coach Greg Martinuik told Capital News he was unaware of any fights like this during his two-week tenure as coach. He was dismissed on September 23 without being informed of a specific cause.
Since the October videos surfaced, Martinuik said he has received dozens of phone calls from parents about the fight club and the other allegations.
“I was told there were other incidents going on,” he said. “I’m really disgusted to hear this stuff.”
While the JPHL is investigating the allegations, associations such as the BCAHA and Hockey Canada – both of which have been made aware of the father’s concerns – say they have no jurisdiction to intervene in cases involving an unsanctioned league.
“…they would have their own rules and procedures in place, which would not be required to comply with Hockey Canada rules and procedures,” Hockey Canada said in an emailed statement.
“If a complainant comes forward in relation to a matter that is outside Hockey Canada’s jurisdiction, we will endeavor to direct them to the appropriate resources, including law enforcement, OSIC and/or their local league. . »
Capital News also contacted BCHL and received an emailed statement from Jesse Adamson, Head of Media and Communications:
“We have been made aware of disturbing allegations involving Okanagan HC, which is a team within the JPHL. The JPHL is a separate and independent league in which the BCHL is not involved. We are aware that the manager of the JPHL team in question is a minority owner of one of the BCHL teams, but our rules and jurisdiction only apply to teams playing in the BCHL.
Anyone with more information on this matter is asked to call the RCMP at 250-762-3300.
City of KelownahockeyRCMP