The Harvard women’s hockey program is under intense scrutiny following an article by Katie Strong and Hailey Salvian. Athletic Who revealed the mistreatment and abuse at the hands of head coach Katie Stone.
follow a January article from The Boston Globe Detailing the toxic culture Stone introduced and allowed to fester among teammates, Strang and Salvian are dealing with the longtime Crimson bench boss’ abusive, racist and at times cult-like behavior.
In the events described in the Globe’s initial report, Stone reportedly berated his team during a practice in March 2022, specifically lashing out at his club for a lack of respect and saying the team had “done too many things”. chiefs and not enough Indians”.
The acrimony had immediate resonance, with several Indigenous players at the club, including defender Maryna MacDonald, who alleged that Stone looked directly at her when making the comments.
MacDonald would eventually leave the team—along with Tez Thompson—of Indigenous heritage—after the comment, a microcosm of the toxicity that existed within the Crimson ranks, saw a dangerous nine players with remaining eligibility over the past two seasons. was pushed Harvard’s women’s program also ranked last in overall athlete culture and satisfaction according to a 2019 survey of Harvard athletes.
“I learned to navigate a lot of her toxic environment,” MacDonald told The Boston Globe. “But now she was disrespecting me and my family and my heritage in front of everyone.”
Strong and Salvian outline a deep culture of unfair and abusive behavior, such as hazing. The Athletic’s article described a non-sanctioned “naked skate” the team participated in dating from at least 2005, which made some players feel uncomfortable. Additionally, in some instances, newcomers were made to slide “Superman” on the ice, leaving some with ice burns and bleeding nipples.
Notably, the incident was deemed unconstitutional by Stone and his staff after a player upset in 2023, and Stone was found to have no direct connection to the skate. despite Although, The Athletic reports that an unnamed player for the past 10 years, fearing retribution, eloquently explained things related to Stone and what she often reminds her players of:
“There isn’t a thing going on in this team that I don’t know about.”
Other blurring activities described by The Athletic Include an “initiation week”, which includes, among other things, pressuring newcomers to participate in underage drinking in some cases until they pass out or vomit.
One such example is described from the 2016–17 team, in which a classmate with an alcohol allergy was put into situations in which she felt she could not abstain from drinking. The player and a classmate eventually separated themselves from the group, while the allergic player eventually vomited on the steps of Harvard Yard.
In addition, a culture of hazing persisted within the program, including a finning system that covered everything from the player’s clothing to their relationships and even their sexual orientation or race in some cases. Players were reportedly constantly bullied about their weight and diet, leading to many players developing eating disorders while playing for the team.
The players generally felt that the scrutiny was particularly intense under the highly disciplined program maintained by Stone, with everything from the privilege of using a reserved locker room before the start of his freshman season on the table. Stone reportedly sought to foster an environment that would put his players on edge, sowing division within the locker room and creating an in-person environment comparable to the Stanford prison experiment.
While the school eventually “reviewed” Stone’s racially insensitive remarks in 2022, Harvard declined to describe the situation as an investigation and failed to adequately bring in independent external sources. Instead, Mike Smith, Harvard’s NCAA faculty athletics representative, was tasked with interviewing the players on the matter, with the view being that Smith “understood Harvard.”
For the players and the alumni themselves, division has persisted among the ranks as to how to come to terms with and ultimately address the situation. According to The Athletic, a split exists among those who wish to hold Stone accountable, while others remain loyal to their former head coach. Per Strang and Salvian’s story, “Many women said they no longer felt welcome at alumni gatherings, and feared being cut off from the powerful Harvard alumni network if they spoke honestly about their experiences.” Is.”