Published Oct. 3, 2023 3:50 p.m. ET
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“As a result of the investigation initiated by the principal at Sir Wilfrid Laurier additional information came forward and as a result a decision was made to suspend the team,” said Tracy Langelaan, superintendent of student achievement at Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB).
Outside sources have said the incident involved players hazing other players by putting hot sauce and other condiments in their underwear. CTV News had previously confirmed another incident where players threw eggs at defenceless players in the end zone of the football field at SWLSS after school.
“The investigation remained open and as a result of players and additional information coming forward, that’s why we’ve landed at this specific consequence,” said Langelaan.
She added, “As relayed to all the players and families this this investigation will remain open. There’s the potential if there’s additional information that is forthcoming, we could be looking at individual consequences or consequences for the collective.”
As a result of the program being suspended until Oct. 10, 2023, the Rams will forfeit their upcoming game Thursday against Parkside Collegiate.
The Rams entered the season as the top-ranked team in Ontario by Canada Football Chat, but now fall to 1-2 on the season. Their only win, coming last Friday 26-23 over South.
CTV News has been contacted by parents and members of the football team with concerns that there were no suspensions from school for the players involved in the hazing incidents. Those players were also allowed to practice and play in last week’s game.
“The students have already completed some training that was run by Football Ontario specific to hazing and this was mandatory,” said Langelaan.
She explained, “In addition to that all the players are expected to complete the modules independently of respect in sport, and that’s to be completed by the end of October. Any athlete that fails to complete by those deadlines will be prohibited from participating in any sport at Sir Wilfrid Laurier.”
CTV News has also obtained a copy of a letter that the Laurier football team sent to the board Monday afternoon. The team expressed “guilt and shame,” and asked for “forgiveness and the opporuntiy to play again.”
In the letter, the team said, “We would like to take accountability and apologize for the hardship, the embarrassment and the shame we have brought to not only our administration but our school coaches, peers and the Thames Valley District School Board.”
The letter also reads that after completing a five to six hour activity leader certification course with Football Ontario, “we have constructed the Football Food Drive that will take place every year with the goal to help underprivileged families and individuals in the community.”
TVDSB said they appreciate the initiative of the student athletes who have taken the situation seriously, and are remorseful for their actions.
“We hope that this is the end of it, and that the students take this as a learning opportunity and we’re not here again,” said Langelaan, who added no criminal charges have been laid in the matter. “We encourage any students or families to feel free to reach out to us at any time and we will continue to investigate as needed.”
This is the second time in as many seasons a London high school football team has had their opener forfeited due to hazing.
CCH lost 35-0 in 2022 when they had 25 players suspended prior to their opener. The senior CCH players made the rookies dress up in costumes, took photos of them, and posted them on social media.
Rams head coach John Kublinskas said after last year’s incident, he addressed the players about the repercussions of hazing.
“The message was clear that that type of behaviour shouldn’t have happened,” said Kublinskas. “We make sure our kids aren’t treated that way in practice. We don’t make rookies do extra jobs or extra things. I didn’t think we’d be here as the message was clear. I guess it wasn’t loud enough.”
The Sir Wilfrid Laurier Rams senior football team in London, Ont. is under investigation by the school and Thames Valley District School Board for a “hazing incident” which took place on Sept. 21, 2023, prior to their season opener. (Brent Lale/CTV News London)
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