A former UConn student is suing the university’s hockey coach after she said she was bullied and a victim of hazing.
Much of the alleged abuse happened last fall, and Shannon Godin said she was so traumatized by what happened that she had to leave school.
She was offered a full scholarship to go to UConn, but several months after she accepted the offer from the UConn women’s hockey team she said her dream turned into a nightmare.
Godin spoke with Eyewitness News via FaceTime on Tuesday and said she is suing Uconn Hockey Coach Christopher MacKenzie for his role in the alleged hazing.
“I definitely would like to see a change in the culture,” she said.
According to the lawsuit, in 2014 MacKenzie allegedly told Godin's parents, shortly after he got the coaching job, that “he did not recruit Shannon, did not like her as a player, that she would hate UConn and be gone in a year.”
She said she decided to attend UConn anyway because of the scholarship.
The lawsuit claims that MacKenzie “allowed senior members to bully and haze her during ‘Rookie Nights’ where freshman were forced to ‘drink alcohol and wear sexually inappropriate and degrading clothing’.”
Godin’s father shared photos with Eyewitness News from the Rookie Night. Godin claims she was tied up and forced to drink in one of the games.
“You had to finish both of your drinks before they did but obviously you’re tugging and pulling and it made it more difficult,” Godin said.
She added that after Rookie Night, the hazing and drinking continued.
The lawsuit claims MacKenzie sat her down for 10 games, but toward the end of the season “She played in 15 straight hockey games including three playoff games.”
She said when she asked the coach how she could improve, he allegedly said “Didn’t I tell you that you would hate coming to the rink.”
UConn officials acknowledged “Rookie Nights” did happen, and in a statement said “Current students believed to have engaged in inappropriate behavior have been referred to the proper office and will be held accountable as appropriate under the Student Code. Aside from this one event, there was no indication that the upperclassmen were attempting to intimidate others during the year.”
“The changes they need to make are very simple. They need to tell an athlete when there’s a coaching change and that they’re protected,” said Godin’s father Shawn Urlocker.
“I wouldn’t wish that on anyone else,” Godin added.
She said she is taking a year off and is exploring other college programs in Canada. Her attorney said they do plan on suing the school as well.
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