The University of Ottawa has announced that it's dismantling its entire hockey program and starting fresh after an internal investigation found that the team was too rapey to continue playing.
The investigation stemmed from an incident that occurred in Thunder Bay, Ontario during the weekend of February 1st, when members of the unfortunately nicknamed University of Ottawa Gee Gees were in town to play the Lakehead University Thunderwolves. Publicly available details of the incident are sparse, but it seems that several members of the University of Ottawa men's hockey team participated in the assault of a single female victim.
University officials became aware of the incident in late February, right around the time the leaked transcript of a Facebook group chat involving a handful of members of University leadership discussing how they wished to sexually violate a female student federation President (sample line: "president will suck me off in her office chair and after I will fuck her in the ass on Pat's desk...") made the rounds.
University of Ottawa administration initially handed down a suspension without pay to the hockey team's head coach Réal Paiement. But after poking around, investigators discovered that Paiment knew about the February 1st sexual assault within hours of its occurrence, but did nothing to inform authorities about what happened, school officials announced yesterday that he'd been relieved of his duties. Officials also announced that since it's clear University of Ottawa men cannot handle playing hockey on a team without raping people, they're cutting their losses and canceling next season altogether.
"We suspended the program — not the team," [university President Alan] Rock said.
"We know enough to say that what happened there was unacceptable so we're shutting down the program, the coach is being replaced, we're putting new policies and processes in place, and moving forward with a new program."
Not every player on the team was involved in the incident, and some are considering filing suit against the university, alleging that the school's decision to suspend the entire team, — even the guys who didn't rape — was tarnishing their reputations.
Rock made sure to clarify that they were only rapey this one time, which is a pretty obtuse thing to say in light of junior hockey's reputation for being endemically rapey.
It's unclear how the University of Ottawa starting fresh with a new round of guys who grew up in hockey culture will eliminate the chance of something similar to the Thunder Bay incident occurring again, and again, and again (even though #NotAllHockeyPlayers). According to Vice's Ben Makuch (who is from a small town in Canada), misogyny is deeply woven into junior hockey culture up north. He explained, in an article from earlier this year,
The chronic problem of sexual predation in junior hockey dressing rooms lies at the root of a damaged junior hockey system. At present, players are drafted at sixteen into major junior leagues all over the country, forcing them to leave their parents at a crucial and hormonal age to live in billets in small towns. Veterans on their team are partially responsible for socializing fresh faced teens into men, meaning it's a free-for-all in places where players are local gods, school is for pussies, and women are only good for "gummers."
Makuch then refers to a blog that hosts something known as "The Junior Hockey Bible," a graphic and entirely rapey guidebook that establishes that for a disturbing number of junior hockey players, the game itself is just — to use Makuch's description — a "sideshow to a sexual circus." TJHB arose from a particularly skeevy chain of emails between junior hockey players in the mid-2000's, and contains some great tips on how to treat women like fuck puppets with no agency. Here are but a couple of the items contained therein:
Call me a cynic, but I don't believe that what happened in Thunder Bay was in any way "isolated," and I have a hard time believing canceling one college hockey team for a single season is going to make much of a difference.