Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Lightning

Lightning keeps hazing 'good natured'

When it comes to hazing among Lightning players, the worst thing defenseman Keith Aulie said he could recall was teammates doing a skit or singing during a team dinner.

In fact, when asked about the scandal that erupted last week when Richie Incognito of the NFL's Dolphins was accused of physically and verbally abusing teammate Jonathan Martin, Aulie said, "I don't think anybody on this team has seen stuff like that.

"I know back in the day things were probably a little bit more aggressive," he said. "But in today's day and age, with social media, it seems everybody jumps on this hazing stuff. There's nothing like that that goes on here."

Lightning captain Marty St. Louis said he wants to keep it that way: "It falls on the leadership group to make sure we're doing things the right way. It's a day-to-day thing. It's easy for everybody to be happy-go-lucky when you're winning. It's when you go through adversity that true colors come out, and you have to monitor that."

Hockey has not been immune to hazing. Perhaps the best-known incident involved former Lightning and current Flyers wing Steve Downie, who in 2005 with Windsor of the junior Ontario league fought teammate Akim Aliu twice at practice after Aliu refused during a postgame bus ride to undress and wedge into the bathroom with several other naked Spitfire rookies.

More civilized was Ducks rookie Cam Fowler in 2010 wearing a chauffeur's hat, driving teammate Teemu Selanne to a game.

What do Lightning rookies go through? As far as we know, the stuff that happens with all teams: gathering pucks after practice, being last off the team bus, and forking over what can be thousands of dollars to pay for veterans at the "rookie dinner."

And don't forget singing at those dinners.

"Anything that happens here is good natured," said Aulie, in his third season with Tampa Bay. "It's for laughs. It's for team bonding. It's not going to be damaging somebody. Your brothers are probably harder on you."

Said rookie defenseman Mark Barberio: "I'm not sure how it works on other teams, but my first month or so (here), it's been quite comfortable. It's mutual. If you show respect to someone, they show respect back, whether you're a rookie or a veteran. It's a rule in life, really."

St. Louis agreed.

"You're trying to push in the same direction," he said. "You have to help the young guys, make them feel part of it."





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