Western hockey players to boycott games, practices should Moxley return

TORONTO, ON – The Western Mustangs Women’s Hockey Team might be off the ice this U SPORTS hockey season.

After TSN reported allegations of misconduct against head coach Candice Moxley in September, the school announced that they would reinstate the head coach on Monday after an investigation. 

On Friday, Western Women’s Hockey Player circulated a letter to the media, which had previously been sent to Western University President Alan Sheppard. In the letter, they threaten to boycott all practices and games should Moxley continue in her role. 

“We, the Players of Western’s Women’s Hockey team, will be boycotting any practices and games that Coach Moxley is involved in,” the players wrote. “The concerns we brought to the university should not be taken lightly. Why is Coach Moxley’s treatment of us (past and present) being swept under the rug?”

“We had an expectation that Western University would believe us, the survivors of the psychological abuse we faced from Coach Moxley.”

While the school removed Western strength and conditioning coach Jeff Watson on the allegations as part of the investigation, it planned to welcome back Moxley. The letter also says lawyer Elizabeth Hewitt interviewed 45 individuals in the investigation before re-instating Moxley. 

However, the investigation came after the university and athletic department had disregarded several communications from the student-athletes, with the Director of Athletics and Recreation, Christine Stapelton, initially refusing to respond to contact before dismissing many of the concerns ahead.

The players wrote that Western University, which hired Hewitt, will not release the report’s findings. 

“Ms. Hewitt found that, after conducting the interviews, some of our allegations against Jeff Watson were confirmed. Why is the university not being transparent about which allegations were confirmed by Ms. Hewitt?” they asked. 

“More importantly, why is Coach Moxley returning when she knew of the sexual harassment and did nothing about it? How can the university justify the firing of Mr. Watson without also reprimanding Coach Moxley? Did the university inform the police so they could do an investigation?”

Also included in the letter were the players saying that Moxley had threatened to bench certain student-athletes for the season for non-compliance or injury. At the same, Moxley continued to disregard mental health, reportedly saying, “I don’t care.”

The players also wrote of sub-standard equipment and nutritional services, which didn’t allow them to fuel properly or prepare for games, with non-functioning video equipment and a small locker room.

“Some players were nervous to ask her [to access supplies] so they started purchasing their own supplies, and some parents donated supplies and protein shakes [which Coach Moxley kept locked in her office]. The team also mentioned that the off-ice workout that Coach Moxley had Mr. Watson create wasn’t working. Her reply was that she paid for these workouts and the team will do them.”

With the threats of boycott, TSN reports that the players plan to attend Friday’s practice, as well as Saturday’s game against the Ontario Tech Ridgebacks. However, Moxley is not set to return to the team until Monday. 

The Mustangs have started off strong on the ice this season, with a 3-1-1 record. However, they sit last in the OUA West having played just five games. 

“The concerns we brought to the university should not be taken lightly,” the letter read. “Why is Coach Moxley’s treatment of us (past and present) being swept under the rug?”

“Don’t ignore us. Don’t silence us.”

The full letter is attached to the bottom of this article.

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