Katey Stone is a Harvard legend. As the winningest female head coach in women’s college hockey, she is her sport’s version of Pat Summit or Dean Smith.
But according to an investigation by The Athletic’s Hailey Salvian and Katie Strang, there lies an undercurrent of hazing, bullying and abuse beneath Harvard hockey’s glory.
That abuse has also come with a heavy dash on homophobia.
After speaking to over 30 Harvard hockey players and alumni, Salvian and Strang revealed the unseemly ritual of “Freshman Fun Night:” an evening of hazing dedicated to “break in” new members of the Crimson.
In addition to reports of forced binge drinking and verbal abuse, veteran players compelled their new teammates to act out humiliating sketches, in which LGBTQ players were forced to portray their sexuality as a target of ridicule.
Furthermore, as a way of keeping younger players in line, the team’s leaders instituted a system of kangaroo court-style fines for innocuous offenses. LGBTQ players say they were forced to pay a “gay tax.”
“One team member was fined for having a crush on a teammate,” write Salvian and Strang.
As Outsports has documented numerous times, one of the scariest parts of coming out for many LGBTQ athletes is the fear of being rejected by their teammates. By its very nature, the act of coming out in the sports world is one of trust and hope that teammates will accept LGBTQ athletes as their true selves.
Based on these reports of hazing, Harvard women’s hockey players repeatedly violated that trust with their LGBTQ teammates under Stone’s watch.
While Harvard University officials issued a statement decrying similar hazing rituals as “a non-sanctioned team event.” The Athletic’s report implies that Stone was aware of what was transpiring off of the ice.
According to an anonymous former member of the Crimson, “Stone would frequently remind the players: ‘There’s not a single thing on this team that goes on that I don’t know about.’”
At the least, there are immense questions about Stone knew regarding her players’ anti-LGBTQ behavior, and why it continued for decades. This is also part of her legacy.