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Bench Talk / Off The Wire

The Carcillo Claim


By Fred Wallace

 Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".


The recent allegations and revelations, call them what you will, by Daniel Carcillo pertaining to his time in the Ontario Hockey League with the Sarnia Sting have evoked all kinds of reaction.

In a nutshell, Carcillo related via Twitter that in his rookie year at Sarnia in 2002, he and his fellow rookies had to endure a perpetual sequence of hazing activities.

Carcillo's lengthy account was sad, and it triggered a memory from that same time period, somewhere in the early 2000s.

The Owen Sound Attack were on the road one night, and as is my custom before a road game, I interview a member of the opposition for our broadcast when I get to the rink.

On this occasion, I wandered to the visiting team's dressing room area and encountered a player working on his stick.

Many times, I'll start the conversation by asking if I can speak to their best talker, and in most cases the first youngster I encounter is more than happy to be my interview guest for a few minutes, or they quickly get the captain or a PR oriented player for me ( truth, the number of poor OHL opposition interviews in 30 years of covering the league have been miniscule in number ).

But in this case, the first kid I encountered said, ' Give me a minute ', and he darted off at top speed.

I should have known by the look on his face & in his eyes he was up to something, but I didn't pick up on it.

A minute later, the first player I met introduced me to a teammate, my interview guest.

Again, I should have caught on that something was up when 3 other members of the opposition, suddenly appeared in the corridor, seemingly intent on watching the proceedings.

Regardless, I started my recorder and asked my first question about the game ahead with Owen Sound, and it was very apparent that my guest from the opposition had a speech impediment, a severe stutter.

This brought exceptional joy to the 3 others standing in the corridor as they roared with laughter, and then audibly mocked the answers with fake stutters and other silly noises.

I was bothered by the interference, and I remember thinking how tough it must be for that player to come to the rink every day knowing that's what he has to deal with; from his teammates.

I also wondered whether I should have continued with the interview as we did, or should I have stopped the interview totally and apologize to my guest, or should I have stopped the interview and taken my guest to a quieter area, or should I have stopped the interview and blasted the 3 goofs who were doing the mocking ?

All these years later, I'm still not sure what the right course of action should have been.

Finally, While I remember the team and the location of this incident, I couldn't tell you who the 3 players were in that corridor. They are utterly unimportant in any sense to me.

As for the interview subject, I watched with interest as he was eventually dealt from that club and flourished on the ice with another OHL team, becoming a significant part of a team that went to the Memorial Cup one season.

The interview subject went on to play 5 years of University Hockey and later moved into a fairly prominent job with an OHL team in his hometown.

I've never encountered the player in any capacity since our interview almost 15 years ago, but sadly, I remembered that interview, vividly, when I read the recent account of activities as experienced by Daniel Carcillo.


I'm Fred Wallace




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