Harvard women's hockey head coach accused of abusive behavior
The GIST: Harvard women’s hockey HC Katey Stone may be one of the sport’s most renowned coaches, but she’s also allegedly an abusive leader. According to a Boston Globe report, Stone, who’s helmed the Crimson for 26 seasons, engages in toxic behaviors that have created “a culture of complete fear.”
The allegations: The Globe’s investigation found numerous accounts of public and private denigration, zero tolerance for mental health struggles, pressure to brush off academics in favor of hockey, body shaming, pressure to ignore concussions and other injuries and shifting disciplinary standards based on “favored” or “unfavored” players.
The response: Perhaps most disturbingly, a racist tirade using slurs specific to Indigenous peoples triggered both a discrimination lawsuit against the institution and a university review. The review concluded with Harvard affirming that “Coach Stone is our head coach and will remain our head coach,” with zero disciplinary actions outside of “opportunities for improvement.”
- Though Stone has received both support and fury from former players, the stats are telling: A whopping 14 recruited players have left the program since 2016, including three this season alone.
Zooming out: Players can have vastly different experiences with a coach and still all be believed. Some may have thrived under what they perceive as Stone’s “meritocracy,” while others bravely came forward with their detrimental ordeals.
- In the end, Harvard’s 2019–20 captain Ali Peper said it best: “There is clearly a way to coach without making people hate their lives.”