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Ex-coaches in Manitoba hockey hazing get longer suspensions

01/18/2012 04:44 EST | Updated 03/19/2012 05:12 EDT

The latest probe into last fall's hazing incident among players in a Manitoba hockey team has led to two former coaches getting extended suspensions from the province's junior hockey league, but one parent says that's not enough.

Bryant Perrier and Brad Biggers, who were the former head coach and assistant coach, respectively, of the Neepawa Natives, will remain suspended until the end of the current season, the Manitoba Junior Hockey League announced Wednesday.

Both Perrier and Biggers were suspended in October for their roles in the hazing incident, in which a number of rookie players faced humiliating initiation rituals while older players rated them.

The parents of a 15-year-old player said their son was forced to dance in the team's dressing room and drag around water bottles tied to his genitals.

Initially suspended for several games

Seven rookies in all were subjected to similar treatment, the parents claimed. The MJHL has said the incident took place on the week of Sept. 26.

Perrier and Biggers were initially suspended for several games, as were 16 Natives players. The two coaches later resigned in the wake of the hazing controversy, and Biggers was suspended indefinitely.

Perrier's suspension has been extended until April 1, while Biggers will remain suspended until July 1, the MJHL announced Wednesday.

The league said Perrier should have known that hazing activity was taking place.

Punish players too, says mom

"As someone in a position of authority and leadership he was responsible to know what was going on in the dressing room," MJHL commissioner Kim Davis stated in a release.

"He failed to do that, and is therefore accountable."

But the mother of the 15-year-old hazing victim told CBC News that she feels the Natives players who were behind the hazing should face further punishment as well.

"There were a few key veteran players that were involved in the initiation that have virtually gone on with no effect, and that concerns me greatly," she said.

The mother said her son, who has since joined another team, believes the best way to stop hazing is to convince younger players that it's wrong.

"His number 1 recommendation was … the education doesn't just need to start at this level. It needs to start at the level before," she said.

'Hazing hurts'

Davis said the MJHL is taking a firm stand on hazing. It is working on new procedures to educate players about the issue.

"That's going to be the key message: hazing is prohibited. Hazing hurts," he told CBC News.

The MJHL appointed a retired Winnipeg police detective in late October to conduct a second, independent probe into the hazing incident. That investigation is now complete, Davis said.

"Because there were some untruths told by some of the players, it raised some doubt as to what we had as a report up to that point," he said. "So it really was just to clarify some points."

According to the league, the investigator confirmed that veteran members of the Neepawa Natives carried out hazing rituals on rookie players.

The probe also found that "there were at least four separate incidents of hazing this year, of which one complaint has arisen," according to an MJHL release.

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