October 25, 2011
As a result of an investigation into a complaint of hazing, the MJHL has announced the following sanctions:
- Neepawa Natives hockey club is fined $5,000.
- Head Coach Bryant Perrier is suspended for two games.
- Assistant Coach Brad Biggers is suspended for five games.
- Team captain Danil Kalashnikov is suspended for five games.
- Assistant Captains Richard Olson, Tyler Gaudry and Shane Harrington are suspended for three games.
- A total of 12 other players are suspended for one game each.
MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis explained the fine and suspensions were the result of a thorough investigation conducted after a complaint of hazing had been received.
“A hazing incident occurred within the jurisdiction of the hockey club during the week of September 26, 2011,” said Davis. “The message from the MJHL is clear. This type of activity is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. There is no excuse for this type of inappropriate behavior. Ultimately, the hockey club is responsible for the conduct of its staff and players. As a result, a significant financial sanction has been imposed to reflect the importance of the team’s responsibility in this matter.
“The Head Coach had no knowledge of the hazing incidents, but is responsible because of his position as head of the hockey club” said Davis. “Therefore, the suspension of the Head Coach reflects the responsibility he had to ensure the staff and players conducted themselves appropriately.”
Davis explained that the suspension of the Assistant Coach was the result of him not promptly reporting his knowledge of hazing activity among the players.
“The captain and assistant captains of a hockey club are often the most senior players and are looked upon as leaders of the club,” said Davis. “As leaders they have a responsibility to do what’s right and to provide positive examples of proper conduct to other players. As a result, those players have also been suspended.”
“Twelve other players have also been suspended for participating in the hazing incident whether as observers or otherwise,” said Davis, “adding that all of them had a responsibility to ensure that hazing did not occur.”
The hazing complaint was vigorously investigated by the league office, noted Davis. Additionally, a special panel was struck to review the evidence and to render a decision. The review panel consisted of two Governors of the MJHL, two Executive members of Hockey Manitoba as well as the MJHL Commissioner. The decision described above was arrived at collectively by the panel.
Davis noted that the Natives organization will be reimbursed a portion of the $5,000 fine if the hockey club partakes in professional services to understand and deal with the psychological implications of hazing.
It is worth noting that the ownership group and hockey staff of the Neepawa Natives informed the MJHL promptly when they became aware of the complaint. Throughout the investigative process the Natives ownership and hockey staff cooperated fully.
Although the MJHL has in the past proactively made all relevant Hockey Canada materials on hazing available to all teams, all 11 MJHL clubs will be expected to participate in an educational program, aimed at heightening awareness of the dangers of hazing and to eradicate the scourge of this type of activity.
October 28, 2011
The Manitoba Junior Hockey is re-opening its investigation into the Neepawa Natives’ hazing complaint. It was also announced today that Neepawa Assistant Coach Brad Biggers, who recently resigned from his position, will be suspended indefinitely.
“As a result of several Neepawa Natives players recanting their earlier testimony, the Neepawa Natives hockey club presented new information to the MJHL on Thursday,” MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis said.
“With the new information, the MJHL will immediately re-open the investigation into the hazing complaint. The league will also be appointing a special, independent investigator to further investigate the matter.”
The indefinite suspension of Biggers will prevent him from joining another organization until the second investigation is fully completed, explained Davis.
Davis said the independent investigator will be appointed as quickly as possible. Further sanctions and suspensions against the Neepawa Natives hockey club are pending following the findings of the special investigator, explained Davis.
November 1, 2011
The Manitoba Junior Hockey has appointed an independent investigator to oversee a recent complaint of hazing within the Neepawa Natives hockey club, MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis announced today.
Ron Bell of Winnipeg, a retired law enforcement professional, will oversee the investigation which will focus on gathering additional information relevant to the complaint.
“Mr. Bell draws upon nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, in addition to his extensive hockey background,” said Davis. “His work will begin immediately and a final report is expected to be provided to the MJHL in approximately one month.
November 3, 2011
Effective immediately, the Neepawa Natives Board of Directors have accepted the letter of resignation from Head Coach and General Manager Bryant Perrier as delivered on October 30, 2011.
January 18, 2012
An independent investigator has concluded their investigation into a hazing complaint levied against the Neepawa Natives. After reviewing the investigator’s report, suspensions to the Natives’ former head coach and assistant coach have been lengthened to the end of the 2011-12 season, MJHL Commissioner Kim Davis announced today.
Former Natives’ head coach Bryant Perrier, who resigned earlier this season, has now been suspended until April 1, while former assistant coach Brad Biggers’ suspension has been extended to July 1. The suspensions are effective in all Hockey Canada jurisdictions.
The report found the following:
- Veteran members of the hockey club initiated hazing activities on rookie players.
- There were at least four separate incidents of hazing this year of which one complaint has arisen.
“As the head coach and leader of the club’s hockey operations, (Perrier) should have known that hazing activity was being undertaken by members of the team,” said Davis. “As someone in a position of authority and leadership he was responsible to know what was going on in the dressing room. He failed to do that, and is therefore accountable.”