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Young Blackhawks say hazing isn’t a problem in hockey

Updated: November 6, 2013 11:27PM



Andrew Shaw heard the stories growing up and saw news items about hazing in hockey at the junior and college levels over the years — the humiliations, the physical attacks, the borderline sexual assaults.

But when he heard about the Miami Dolphins hazing scandal involving Richie Incognito’s alleged abuse of Jonathan Martin, Shaw was grateful to be in a league and in a time when that kind of stuff doesn’t seem to happen.

‘‘Things have changed from the olden days,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘Being a young guy coming into the league, you get some level of respect and dignity. I think it’s been pretty good in the sport of hockey, and what goes on in other sports, you don’t really hear about [in hockey]. I have no complaints.’’

Brandon Saad and Ben Smith called the fun that veterans have with rookies ‘‘low-key.’’ There’s an annual rookie dinner in which the first-year players take the team out and foot the bill. And rookies often have to collect the pucks at the end of a practice.

Shaw said in juniors, the rookies had to unpack the veterans’ bags and hang up jerseys — ‘‘that kind of silly stuff.’’

‘‘That stuff’s fun,’’ Shaw said. ‘‘You only get to be a rookie once. You’ve got to take that in and enjoy that kind of stuff.’’

Smith declined to go into specifics but said he had no problem with anything he went through as a rookie.

‘‘There are small pranks from the older guys, especially my first year or two here,’’ he said. ‘‘Usually it’s pretty low-key, and you don’t get stuff that’s serious or that mean, that rude.’’

Said Saad: ‘‘You have rookie things to do, but nothing that’s intense. . . . It’s more of a brotherhood, and you get to know each other quick.’’

Smith said he was surprised about the extent of the allegations in Miami and was glad the Hawks foster a more welcoming locker-room environment.

‘‘It’s tough — you’d like to think that within the room, you have the trust and respect of other people,’’ Smith said. ‘‘That’s something I think we have here, and those teams that have that kind of respect and trust usually have success. You’ve seen that here the last few years.’’



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