The Saskatoon Hilltops are “embarrassed” over an incident that happened at their clubhouse.
The Hilltops released a statement outlining the details of the October 14th incident.
“A tasteless joke was told by one player in the facility and other players took it upon themselves to address the situation. The players responded to the joke by taping the player to a pole where he subsequently lost consciousness. He quickly regained consciousness and an ambulance was called for precautionary reasons.”
The victim was discharged from hospital on the same night and returned to practice the following Tuesday.
Saskatoon Police also responded and an assault investigation was opened. According to a police report the alleged assailants never meant to cause harm and the 18 year old victim asked police to not pursue the matter.
Hilltops head coach Tom Sargeant said that he is disappointed in the players involved, who he has suspended from playing, and also disappointed in the lack of action by others who were in the facility.
“Obviously I think we are measured on how we deal with it. We are still dealing with it and we are not done with it. As I said the players involved that are suspended we still want them to learn from this and we want them to give back and we are trying to figure out how to do that.” Sargeant wasn’t at the clubhouse when the incident took place but rushed back once he was informed. Sargeant, along with the two players who committed the act, visited the injured player and his family in the hospital following the incident.
“We will learn from this awful lesson and make sure it never happens again. This should never have to take place in any athletic facility in Canada. We are going to embrace this, we are going to educate and teach better. We are going to demand more from each player because we will live in a hands off facility and we want to make sure everyone feels safe and valued at all times.” Sargeant added.
Hilltops director, and former player, Chris Hengen-Braun said that the directors and team are extremely “embarrassed” and “frustrated that it did happen.”
“We don’t condone anything like this whatsoever with the club. I’ve been with the club for over ten years, everything that I’ve ever been a part of has always been to take young boys and turn them into productive men in society.”
The Hilltops will visit the Westshore Rebels in the Canadian Bowl on Saturday, November 12th. The full statement is below.
The Saskatoon Hilltops Football Club acknowledges that there was an incident at our clubhouse facility on the night of October 14, 2016. A tasteless joke was told by one player in the facility to a few players who took it upon themselves to address the situation. The players responded to the joke by taping the player to a pole where he subsequently lost consciousness. He quickly regained consciousness and an ambulance was called for precautionary reasons. The player was released, was home later that night and was back with the team at practice following the team’s road trip to Winnipeg. The police came along with the ambulance and spoke to the players involved in the incident. The coaches and subsequently the club’s board of directors were notified at that time. The two players involved in the incident were suspended indefinitely at that time. The families of all three players were notified immediately and there was ongoing commentary over the next few days to make sure that the serious situation was dealt with in a swift and timely manner. The players involved as well as our football club cooperated fully with the Saskatoon police at the time and continued to work through the matter openly until its conclusion. The players were addressed at the first practice after the incident and at that time it was made very clear that the actions taken were in no way acceptable.
The Saskatoon Hilltops Football club is embarrassed and saddened by what took place that night and in no way condone what happened. The club has each player, coach and board member read and sign a code of conduct each year which outlines the way in which members of the organization should conduct themselves and this was a clear violation of that by the two players involved. Our club has taken steps to make sure that something like this does not happen again and have made this a learning experience for every young man that adorns the blue and gold jersey.
The Saskatoon Hilltops take pride in teaching young men right out of high school how to become great athletes and teammates. More importantly this organization strives to have every player turn into productive and positive members of society. This incident obviously goes against what our organization tries to accomplish everyday and we will continue to work to make it right.