By: Kellianne Jones, News 8 Investigative Producer
(WTNH) — “Go grab your razorblades.” “Coach Seeley took a slap shot at a player’s head.” These are some of the allegations that Quinnipiac University Women’s Ice Hockey players make against their former coach, Rick Seeley. Court documents released earlier this month in a lawsuit between the former coach and a parent of his former player show the anonymous allegations made by his players in university-administered surveys dating back to 2009.
Seeley coached the team from 2008 to 2015 when he was fired after a university investigation into accusations that he grabbed a player by the jersey at a game at Harvard University. Some of those termination documents were also made public in the April 3 court filings.
“The tipping point for everything was the Harvard game back in 2015,” said Andrew Badillo, a student at Quinnipiac University and a journalist at the university television station, Q30. Badillo, and his co-author Ayah Galal, also a student at Quinnipiac University, were the first to publish a story on the recent court filings after following the case since Seeley filed the lawsuits.
Within the surveys administered at the end of each hockey season, Seeley’s players have accused the coach of both physical and verbal abuse against them.
“Instances where he tells players to slip their wrists if they weren’t playing up to par in his eyes, and he would also make pointed threats to individual players in front of the entire team. One player said she couldn’t even keep track of how many times he called her [expletive] stupid,” said Badillo.
After the alleged physical altercation at Harvard in March 2015, the court documents show that University administrators invited current players to a meeting to discuss Seeley. In an April 29, 2015 email written by Assistant Athletic Director Tracey Flynn, she recounts a meeting that took place on April 6 with the subject “Team Meeting Notes – Women’s Ice Hockey.” In the email, she details the conversation with the players. She writes “…I asked ‘Why did you not tell us that this was all happening? Why did you not tell us in previous years in the anonymous team surveys that this was going on?’”
But the surveys released from the 2009-2010 season onward show that players did tell the University of Seeley’s coaching tactics. After the 2009-2010 season, one player wrote that Seeley was “a crazy man” and another said that their team’s success “comes at the expense of emotional distress and verbal neglect.”
News8 reached out to Quinnipiac University and Jack McDonald, the former athletic director who hired Seeley, but both refused to comment. McDonald has been questioned as to why he hired Seeley despite allegations at his former university, Clarkson University, of a similar nature.
Seeley’s lawyer, Bob Mitchell, said that they “deny the allegations.” Seeley is currently coaching hockey in China.