EDITOR’S NOTE: The headline for this story originally said that a former Lethbridge Hurricanes coach was named in the class-action lawsuit. He has not been named in the lawsuit. The headline has been updated to clarify that the lawsuit make allegations about him.
Former Lethbridge Hurricanes player Garrett Taylor is standing alongside two-time Stanley Cup champion Daniel Carcillo in the launch of a class action lawsuit against the Canadian Hockey League (CHL).
The CHL encompasses 52 Canadian and eight American teams spanning three leagues: the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Western Hockey League (WHL) and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).
The lawsuit, filed on Thursday, includes disturbing allegations against former teammates and coaches of Taylor and Carcillo, including the former head coach of the Lethbridge Hurricanes — and current head coach of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants — Michael Dyck.
The claim alleges hazing, bullying, physical and verbal harassment, physical assault, sexual harassment, and sexual assault endured by the class members, referred to in the document as the “abuse.”
“The Abuse is often racist, sexist, homophoic, and highly sexualized,” the lawsuit stated. “The perpetrators of the Abuse were and are senior players on the teams, as well as adult coaches, staff, administrators and employees, servants and agents of the teams and the leagues.”
Taylor claims that he suffered abuse while playing for the Hurricanes as a 17-year-old rookie in the 2008-2009 WHL season, in which he played 45 regular season games.
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According to the lawsuit, Hurricanes coaches and officials were aware of the abuse endured by Taylor and participated in it.
The document says that during team practices, Dyck took Taylor aside and demanded that he fight other young players on the team to increase the intensity level. “This took place numerous times. Taylor was seriously concussed during one fight in practice and he and other team members suffered other injuries during such fights,” the claim said.
The lawsuit also states that Dyck provided the team credit card so that an older player could buy alcohol for the team “rookie party.”
It continued, “the 16 and 17-year-old rookies were required to dress up in women’s clothing and were forced to consume large amounts of alcohol, to the point of blacking out and vomiting.”
Dyck was the head coach of the Hurricanes for four seasons (2006-2009) and his coaching resume also includes a lengthy history with the Lethbridge Minor Hockey Association. Most recently he coached the Lethbridge Hurricanes Midget AAA program to a league championship and a trip to the 2018 Telus Cup, before he got the call to return to the WHL to lead the Vancouver Giants in 2018-2019.
The Vancouver Giants and WHL have not returned Global News’ request for comment.
Taylor also alleged what is referred to in the document as the “garbage bag treatment” when he was sent down from the Hurricanes to the Junior A team in Canmore after the first two games of the 2009-2010 season: “The team and staff were on the team bus waiting to leave for a road trip. Immediately before leaving, Taylor was told in front of the entire team and staff that he was being cut from the team.”
“He was told in a humiliating fashion to get off the bus, to retrieve his bag and to report to Canmore. He was not given any money or any further direction. His parents were not notified,” the claim said about Taylor, who was a minor at the time.
The lawsuit says that Taylor’s experience playing for the Hurricanes left him permanently traumatized and is the root of severe mental health issues that led to him being hospitalized following his time in the WHL, and he continues to deal with psychological and physical injuries that he suffered while playing in the league.
Carcillo also outlined the “almost constant abuse” endured while playing junior hockey; in his case during his rookie season with the Sarnia Sting (OHL) in 2002. Carcillo’s claims say that he and 12 other rookies suffered abuse at the hands of the older players on the team, with coaches and team officials aware of what was happening.
Carcillo’s allegations include more graphic and disturbing details of harassment and assault, as do the claims listed under the class members’ experiences.
The lawsuit also outlines what it calls the “toxic culture and environment” prevalent in junior hockey.
It continued, “in addition to Team and League agents and employees tolerating, condoning and even encouraging or taking part in the Abuse, Class Members are subject to negative repercussions for reporting or even refusing to submit to the Abuse.”
Consequences listed for reporting abuse include reduced ice time, being traded, being sent down, being excluded from team activities, being stigmatized as “weak” or a “problem” player, and more.
None of the allegations made in the lawsuit have been proven in court.
The CHL told Global News late Thursday that it had not been served any court documents and had no comment at this time.