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PuckRush
10-22-2015, 09:27 AM
We've got claims of harassment and bullying behavior involving coaches at UCONN, Quinnipiac (and Clarkson), and UNH. There is a clear change in how players are reacting to this type of alleged behavior. Rather than silence and acceptance, players are using administrative channels to file formal and informal complaints. I think this is a subject worth discussing.

My thoughts:

Bullying and harassment behavior is when an individual who has power over another abuses that power. In the case of a traditional coach-player relationship, there is an inherent imbalance of power favoring the coach.

It is often difficult to know when a coach "crosses the line" and stops being a coach that has criticisms to a coach that is bullying. That line differs based on a variety of factors, and gender is one of those. So let's focus on gender. The theory I've heard: Male coaches are more likely to "cross the line" with female players because some don't understand the physical power imbalance they possess - bigger, stronger, louder. As a footnote, it is thought that some of these coaches are actually aware, but sadly enjoy, the additional power they possess.

Recent awareness of bullying as a problem in both male and female sports is a result of the strengthening of laws against harassment that has brought heightened awareness to players and parents. These laws have forced organizations to a) create avenues for filing complaints against anyone in authority who abuses their power, and b) act swiftly and decisively to prevent lawsuits.

Personally, I think this is evolved thinking. A male coach can yell, scream, throw down his hat, be real angry, and sit anyone he wants on a women's hockey team. Just don't cross the line with physical threats, physical abuse, sexual innuendo, or sexual harassment and you will be OK. Also, if you are a male coach, never have a meeting with a female player without another coach present. Just common sense given the legal climate.

So it's hard to blame the girls. We've got a legal system driving the bus. I also feel bad for the male coaches that were told the bus was coming, but didn't get out of the way.

Eeyore
10-22-2015, 11:37 AM
Maybe hiring a lawyer is what people today think it means to "work smarter, not harder." ;) I have to agree that not enough young people want to work hard and earn their way in life anymore, and persevering to overcome adversity is becoming a thing of the past with each new generation of student athletes.

“The children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.”

Socrates, as quoted by Plato.

Today's young people have always been disrespectful, weak, and generally contemptible, for all values of "today."

zoofer
10-22-2015, 04:45 PM
I agree with Eeyore that today's players have much different values but I think that those involved in the commitment that a D-1 athlete makes, kind of whittles out a lot of the bad apples.....that said I was fairly close to the situation at UNH.....Puckrush talks about the limits that a male coach has to be aware of.....but if the variables are changed, do the results stay the same? We all would like to believe that in reality they would but we know better....rotate in the variables- M vs M, M vs F, F vs M, and F vs F........for the life of me, I cannot see the end results being the same for each condition and there in lies the problem! Until society accepts women players as "athletes" plain and simple, there will be a double standard.....i.e., even the best woman soldier cannot be sent into battle........

Eeyore
10-22-2015, 06:05 PM
...rotate in the variables- M vs M, M vs F, F vs M, and F vs F...for the life of me, I cannot see the end results being the same for each condition and there in lies the problem! Until society accepts women players as "athletes" plain and simple, there will be a double standard...

There need to be much deeper changes than that. There really are different power dynamics in the various potential situations: men supervising women; women supervising women; men supervising men; and women supervising men. These extend far beyond sports, and each has different cultural predicates that inform the meaning of the relationships before they even begin. Unless all of that changes, there will inevitably be different perceptions of a woman coaching and a man coaching behaving in identical ways, and even if they intend identical meanings.

zoofer
10-22-2015, 06:14 PM
True Eeyore but it's not the coaches perspective that bothers me.....it's the outside perspective---the AD, the Univ. President, the Trustees, the media, the power influence involved.....all these folks and their reaction and actions decide how future athletes digest and regurgitate their respective actions! Newton's third law, no?

Eeyore
10-22-2015, 06:29 PM
True Eeyore but it's not the coaches perspective that bothers me.....it's the outside perspective---the AD, the Univ. President, the Trustees, the media, the power influence involved.....all these folks and their reaction and actions decide how future athletes digest and regurgitate their respective actions! Newton's third law, no?

I think the changes you're looking at are necessary but not sufficient for the change we're looking for. Perceptions of female athletes need to shift, but so do things well outside of sports.

Hux
10-22-2015, 09:32 PM
There was no harrasment or bullying at UNH. Player was disrespectful to the coach (for the umpteenth time) and coach made the mistake of reacting to it.

jumbodaddy77
10-22-2015, 11:33 PM
I'll weigh in here. Please know that I have no opinions or information about any of the specific schools/coaches that underlie the discussion. To me the bottom line is that team performance is a function of three variables: ability, motivation, and opportunity. Ability is obviously a function of recruiting and player development. Opportunity is about putting the right players in the right spots at the right times. Finally, motivation is about getting the team to collectively will themselves to use their ability and opportunities to make good things happen. Coaches obviously control all three variables. But, it's a lot easier for a coach to micro-manage ability and opportunity, than collective motivation. Team spirit, or motivation, is the mojo or special sauce that emerges in the locker room and can only be facilitated by the coach. Old school coaches can rightfully scream that today's kids are "soft" and "sensitive" and "love luxury" but that's not going to produce a motivated team. Screaming and intimidation can work... for a month or two, or a year or two, but not forever. That's why I'm so impressed by the coaches of the top teams. It's not that their players feel are any less entitled. In fact I'd bet they think they're even more entitled. But thanks to great coaching, these teams consistently use their abilities and opportunities while also staying focused on collective team goals.

zoofer
10-23-2015, 07:19 AM
I agree Jumbo, it's the mindset of the winning teams that makes the difference, hence the saying "why not us" by others... I have the utmost respect for Brian Durocher and Mark Johnson for what they do and how they maintain their level of play....remembering back to when Maine put out it's schedule the year after they beat UNH in '99' for the Championship....it listed the dates for the HE finals and the NCAA 1/4's and FF...I remember thinking that was so cocky of them, but in reality it set the standard that each year from then on, anything less was not acceptable!
The only other thing I would add to your 3 specifics is development.....both on and off the ice, a great Coach can assist a player to become much more than they ever envisioned for themselves...how many athletes speak endearingly of the Coach being a life long mentor, which again is both as a person and a player.....

ARM
10-23-2015, 10:01 AM
All this talk of today's athletes and entitlement in most threads, but who exactly are we comparing them to? IMO, a big part of entitlement is showing up and expecting that something will be handed to you. From what I've seen of the current generation of women's hockey player, they show up at the college level and they are willing to work very, very hard. I was around a lot of HS and college athletes in my generation, and they didn't work this hard. Women's sports were just getting going and it was much less of a full-time endeavor, and male athletes weren't much better.

I'd be willing to bet that if the people who speak of the modern student athlete acting entitled look around their workplaces, they'd see a lot more of an attitude of entitlement. The average worker in society isn't nearly as willing to devote himself or herself to a task, and forty years ago, it was even worse. People thought that they had been hired and were now set for life.

The kids we follow are high achievers, and they accomplish these things by being willing to work. If they expect help to be provided at every turn, rather than blame them, we should look to the system that has produced them. You'll see parents doing school projects so that the student can get a premium grade, forgetting that the emphasis should be on learning, not success.

I must be interacting with a different segment of the population than many. Where others see women acting entitled, I see those who are able to apply themselves to a task and accomplish it. I'm not willing to throw any of them under the bus.

PuckRush
10-23-2015, 11:37 AM
There need to be much deeper changes than that. There really are different power dynamics in the various potential situations: men supervising women; women supervising women; men supervising men; and women supervising men. These extend far beyond sports, and each has different cultural predicates that inform the meaning of the relationships before they even begin. Unless all of that changes, there will inevitably be different perceptions of a woman coaching and a man coaching behaving in identical ways, and even if they intend identical meanings.

Perfectly said. The dynamic is different when males coach females, versus the other variations Eeyore mentions. Once that is understood by coaches, I think most of the problems go away. I also give you kudos for suggesting that this is a societal problem - a problem that I think is the inevitable result of the opportunities our society has given women in both professional and sports life. (yes, I know there are still inequalities, and that too has to evolve)

PuckRush
10-23-2015, 11:45 AM
All this talk of today's athletes and entitlement in most threads, but who exactly are we comparing them to? IMO, a big part of entitlement is showing up and expecting that something will be handed to you. From what I've seen of the current generation of women's hockey player, they show up at the college level and they are willing to work very, very hard. I was around a lot of HS and college athletes in my generation, and they didn't work this hard. Women's sports were just getting going and it was much less of a full-time endeavor, and male athletes weren't much better.

I'd be willing to bet that if the people who speak of the modern student athlete acting entitled look around their workplaces, they'd see a lot more of an attitude of entitlement. The average worker in society isn't nearly as willing to devote himself or herself to a task, and forty years ago, it was even worse. People thought that they had been hired and were now set for life.

The kids we follow are high achievers, and they accomplish these things by being willing to work. If they expect help to be provided at every turn, rather than blame them, we should look to the system that has produced them. You'll see parents doing school projects so that the student can get a premium grade, forgetting that the emphasis should be on learning, not success.

I must be interacting with a different segment of the population than many. Where others see women acting entitled, I see those who are able to apply themselves to a task and accomplish it. I'm not willing to throw any of them under the bus.

I have to agree with you. Every time I see someone accuse these players of being "entitled" in a negative way, it's a contradiction to the experience I have with 95% of the players I know (and I know many from having daughters involved in this sport at high levels).

PuckRush
10-23-2015, 11:50 AM
There was no harrasment or bullying at UNH. Player was disrespectful to the coach (for the umpteenth time) and coach made the mistake of reacting to it.

Hux, then how do you explain this?

The Strafford County Attorney's Office said "McCloskey admitted that during a game on Nov. 30, 2013, he grabbed a player by her jersey, pulled her and caused her to hit her head on a bench. He also admitted putting his knee on top of her hip after she fell and holding her facemask with his hand."

That is exactly bullying, by definition. What am I missing Hux?

binnyrus
10-23-2015, 12:27 PM
Honestly, I don't understand what this thread is about.



The kids we follow are high achievers, and they accomplish these things by being willing to work.

This has always been my experience as well. Even those students that are playing D1 primarily to continue to pursue the sport they love at the highest level (i.e., the education as by product) still have to work very hard to remain eligible.

If a coach is having trouble managing the team - and the individual personalities - then they have to find a way to do it. I'm sure Mark Johnson doesn't use intimidation to motivate and/or teach his players to be better players AND people. Johnson has said many times that he enjoys coaching women because they are more coachable (rough paraphrase there). But that difference was an adjustment he had to make. If coaches can't adjust; can't figure out how to be effective with all types of players then I don't think they'll be at it for long. If a player finds she can't figure out how to fit in to a team then she'll leave. It happens all the time. Those coaches that cross the line are weeded out. That there are legal means to do it now makes it easier. Players have long suffered under abusive coaching and had no alternative but to quit. I think it's healthy for there to be more options. It may take a little time, but school officials figure it out too.

KTDC
10-23-2015, 01:31 PM
Hux, then how do you explain this?

The Strafford County Attorney's Office said "McCloskey admitted that during a game on Nov. 30, 2013, he grabbed a player by her jersey, pulled her and caused her to hit her head on a bench. He also admitted putting his knee on top of her hip after she fell and holding her facemask with his hand."

That is exactly bullying, by definition. What am I missing Hux?

I think of bullying as the actor initiating the behavior. My understanding is the event at UNH was a response to insubordination. Although, it seems, it was clearly an improper response.

The fact it was called 'criminal' is I think part of what has some posters up in arms. You know over the rush to call in lawyers and then doubting the character of some of the players.

This topic can be challenging because it's tough to define terms, and it can be tough to know exactly what happened either in specific situations like UNH or generally when coaches were led to resign like Quinnipiac.

Skate79
10-29-2015, 02:15 PM
This topic can be challenging because it's tough to define terms, and it can be tough to know exactly what happened either in specific situations like UNH or generally when coaches were led to resign like Quinnipiac.

I don't think it is that much of a challenge. You grab a kid, pull them to where they hit their head and then pin them? What's hard to understand? In this day and age, you don't lay a hand on a kid unless you want the kind of trouble that gets you fired or worse, in court. Having been around parents, young athletes, coaches and administrators the past ten years through family and friends, it is pretty clear to me that this kind of behavior is way off base and unacceptable. Mark Mazzoleni, Brad Seeley and McCloskey all found out the hard way.

vicb
10-29-2015, 03:55 PM
I don't think it is that much of a challenge. You grab a kid, pull them to where they hit their head and then pin them? What's hard to understand? In this day and age, you don't lay a hand on a kid unless you want the kind of trouble that gets you fired or worse, in court. Having been around parents, young athletes, coaches and administrators the past ten years through family and friends, it is pretty clear to me that this kind of behavior is way off base and unacceptable. Mark Mazzoleni, RICK Seeley and McCloskey all found out the hard way.

Fixed your post :rolleyes:

PuckRush
10-29-2015, 04:41 PM
Fixed your post :rolleyes:

Whoever "Brad" is, he got a bum rap there for second!

hab
10-29-2015, 05:47 PM
I have been around women's college hockey for a number of years and have heard a lot of stories of totally inappropriate coaches' behaviours. I will not comment on individual cases because judicial processes are better equipped to deal with the facts of those cases. However, I do know these facts: a particular coach has consistently isolated, degraded and belittled one player in the mistaken belief that this will improve her play; a coach has thrown garbage cans across a dressing room in the mistaken belief that this will encourage his team to play better; a coach has forbidden his players from talking on a long bus ride home after a discouraging loss in the mistaken belief that they needed this to understand the importance of competing.

College sports should be an intense but very uplifting and satisfying experience for young people. We have to face the fact that there will always be a few immature and insecure people who find their way into coaching positions without the proper perspective and they need to be sidelined as quickly as possible. My daughter played college hockey in a wonderful environment and I can only wish the same for all young athletes.