*The team manager when I was doing sports journalism* “I’m sorry about all the online verbal abuse, stalking and trolling you receive, Sharon. You’ve had to put up with more than any writer has had to endure.”
*Me, sarcastically* “Gee, I can’t think why.”
Context: I was the only girl writer on a sports site with 14 guy writers.
*Me* “Oh, it’s fine. And poor Alfred. He gets some horrible stuff said to him. They really detest him and say he’s ruining the site.”
Context: Alfred was the only black guy out of all the writers.
Not that me or Alfred were exactly
Rick Reilly, but you understand certain things sometimes, you know?
“There was times where he would take a helmet and throw it in the locker room, punch the chalkboard, slam the door screaming in your face,” Courtney Bills said.
“I remember one time, I lifted my leg when a slap shot was coming at me,” she said. “And I got to the bench and he grabbed me by the jersey…and said ‘If you do that one more time, I’m going to f—ing cut your legs off.’”
Jillian Nolan-Staley, then known as Jillian Nolan, said Seeley would skate the players until they “puked” before or after games.
Nolan-Staley said many brought their concerns to their assistants, but little came from it.
David Bills was made aware of the alleged incidents by his daughter midway through the 2003-2004 season. In 2005, he penned a seven-page letter to another parent with a daughter on the team. The letter contains handwritten accusations from a year and a half prior of verbal, physical and mental abuse gathered after speaking with “at least” eight Clarkson players, including his daughter, Nolan-Staley and O’Hara. He said he took the notes directly to President Anthony G. Collins and other administrators.
The notes also detail the mental abuse Seeley allegedly inflicted on the players. One mentions they were afraid he would hit them, while another claims she was afraid to fall asleep without another girl on the team physically in bed with her so she could close her eyes. Another said Seeley made her want to “drink to forget” all the bad times.
They also say Seeley informed his players not to tell their parents what went on in the locker room, because he said it was none of their business. The women who spoke up were then isolated from the rest of the team.“It was definitely swept under the rug and not really dealt with,” she said. “We were definitely made examples of after that, because he knew we had come forward about him to the school, so he was not happy.”
After some time had passed, David contacted Clarkson administration in February of 2004 once more to find out what sort of discipline had been taken on Seeley. He received a letter from Collins two weeks later, confirming the university would review the situation. He noted “appropriate actions” had been taken, and wished to move forward from the incident. Collins also promised to notify David of the outcome of the review.
Eleven years later, David said neither Collins nor the university have contacted him. David said he had heard Seeley was ordered to anger management, which gave him temporary peace of mind, though said little changed with the coach’s demeanor during the remainder of his daughter’s tenure at the school.
Courtney believes it was fear of consequences that prevented many of the former players from speaking up at the time. “When we tried to do something about it, everyone was so scared. When you’re just 18, 19 years old, you just shut your mouth,” she said.
So basically nothing was done. At all, both at Quinnipiac and Clarkson. Keep in mind these are people who are as young as 18/19. I’m beyond words right now.
Jack Zimmermann thought he learned everything about leading a team through his time in the Q. However, he realized he was very wrong when he first met a rag tag group of kids who were eager to call him Coach Z.
He never had to learn to be patient around players of his own age. If they were being a shitty player, he could just call them out on it. This was not the case with his team. Most of the kids were 10 or 11 years old. Half of them had never played before. Some hadn’t even been on ice before he started coaching. It was hard for him to be stern, yet gentle with them at the beginning. Eventually, he’d found a good balance. Those who he saw half-assing on the ice, regardless of whatever skill, were scolded. But those who were giving it the Coach Z 110%, were always praised. There may or may not have been candy for good playing.
Jack had never felt prouder when he taught Hoots, an 11 year old, how to skate backwards. The way his face lit up when he said “I’m doing it!” is still one of Jack’s favorite memories. The next practice, Hoots had sprinted over to Jack and said that he had been practicing his backward skating all weekend.
Jack’s hockey heart grew three sizes that day.
Working with team inspired Jack to be better. If these kids were working hard, why couldn’t he? There were many times when Jack would be practicing before the kids showed up, only to not keep track of the time. There were lots of wolf whistles and cheers when he forgot to keep track of the time.
When he decided to go to Samwell, he had been with his team for 2 years. He’d seen a lot of them change a lot on and off the ice. He promised he would keep in touch, but it was pretty infrequent. He heard from Lotter, an aggressive 9 year old, the most. In middle school, her shinnies had turned into something of an unofficial fight club. Zoomer stopped hockey in high school to join theatre, apparently he’s quite the good actor. He made sure to go to one of his musicals when he was on spring break. He got letters from at least half of the kids at least once or twice a year. Some of them were facebook friends. But again, it’s hard to keep in touch with 20 tweens.
That didn’t stop them from all showing up in Falconers gear the first time he played in Montreal. Jack swore they cheered the loudest out of anyone in the arena. He couldn’t stop thinking about how they’d all grown so much. Most of them were in high school right now. Some were even in university. It was crazy. Once the game ended, he met with all of them. Of COURSE it ended in a big ass dog pile.
After that, he didn’t expect to really interact with them ever again. That is, until Eric Bittle’s senior year. He is giving his official Welcome Tour of the Haus when one of the Frogs (or…as Bitty calls them, eggs. Seriously, Bitty.) asks if Jack Zimmermann really lived here.
“Of course he did! He lived right across the hall from me”
“Cool!” the frog starts “I really hope I get to meet him again”
“Yeah. He coached my team in Montreal when I was 11. He taught me how to skate and everything!”
Bitty’s whole expression changed. “You wouldn’t happen to be called Hoots, would you?”
Kelly Dyer was the first female to play Massachusetts AAA Boys’ High School hockey and Tom Barrasso’s backup. Barrasso and several other teammates refused to speak to her, believing women did not belong on men’s teams. She went on to win two ECAC (national) championships with Northeastern and later played in the Sunshine League (a men’s pro league).
She also played on Team USA, earning 3 World Championship silver medals.