Harvard women’s hockey coach Katey Stone is retiring, the school announced Tuesday. The move comes after nearly three decades at the helm but also in the wake of abuse allegations that have roiled the program.
Stone’s retirement comes after reports in the Boston Globe and The Athletic earlier this year detailing wide-ranging abuse allegations, including hazing. The investigative stories led the university to commission an external review of the program in March by law firm Jenner & Block.
While Tuesday’s announcement did not mention the review or its status, a school spokesperson told The Athletic that the investigation was complete.
“When we release anything, I’ll let you know,” the spokesperson told The Athletic when asked if the firm’s findings would be made public.
Under Stone’s leadership, the Harvard hockey team formed a culture in which players “were routinely pitted against each other, subjected to hazing and initiation rituals that involved forced alcohol consumption and sexualized skits and traditions,” The Athletic reported.
Among the team’s traditions was an annual event called the “naked skate,” which dated back decades, though Stone and her coaching staff called it an unsanctioned activity in a meeting with the team earlier this year. The most recent skate occurred in January, one day after the publication of the Boston Globe story, which described a 2022 incident in which Stone uttered a racially insensitive comment in front of Indigenous members of the team.
According to the Globe, Stone said the team was playing like there were “too many chiefs and not enough Indians.”
Following that incident, two Indigenous players, Maryna MacDonald and Taze Thompson, left the team. So did Sydney Daniels, an assistant coach with Indigenous roots. She later filed a complaint against Harvard and its athletic department.
Associate head coach Lee-J Mirasolo took a leave of absence from Harvard starting in late March, then left the program in early May to take a head coaching position at Stonehill College. Freshman defender Jade Arnone transferred to Boston College after the 2022-23 season.
Stone also has been accused of downplaying injuries and mental health issues and leading derogatory chants directed at players. One player’s parent noted that the program appeared to be “a mental-health Hunger Games.”
“For coaches, stepping down from the bench, leaving the program you have poured your heart and soul into for this many years, is especially hard,” Stone said in the news release announcing her retirement. “I believe a coach knows in their heart when it is time for change and I look forward to supporting the next chapter in Harvard women’s hockey. I am grateful to my coaching colleagues and administrators who have supported my journey. Thank you to my players and alumni for sharing your lives with me.”
In a letter to Harvard hockey alumni obtained by The Athletic, athletic director Erin McDermott encouraged players to submit recommendations for new head coaching candidates. The search will begin immediately.
“Hiring head coaches is one of the most important responsibilities that I hold given the impact on student-athlete experience,” McDermott wrote. “I look forward to the process and am confident that we will hire an excellent coach.”
Katey Stone announces retirement. RELEASE: https://t.co/Z72hC44Qp3— Harvard Women's Hockey (@HarvardWHockey) June 6, 2023
Katey Stone announces retirement. RELEASE: https://t.co/Z72hC44Qp3