Hockey Canada reopens investigation into alleged 2018 sexual assault


In response to fallout from its dealing with of sexual assault allegations in opposition to members of the nation’s 2018 world junior staff, Hockey Canada on Thursday issued an open letter outlining a number of deliberate organizational adjustments, together with a reopening of its probe of the alleged assault.

“We all know we now have not accomplished sufficient to deal with the actions of some members of the 2018 Nationwide Junior Workforce, or to finish the tradition of poisonous behaviour inside our recreation,” the game’s nationwide governing physique stated in a statement. “For that we unreservedly apologize. We all know we have to do extra to deal with the behaviours, on and off the ice, that battle with what Canadians need hockey to be, and which undermine the numerous good issues that the sport brings to our nation.”

Hockey Canada’s response stems from an incident through which a lady alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight members of Canada’s 2018 world junior staff that June after a Hockey Canada Basis golf occasion. That led to a legal investigation by police that was closed in 2019. A separate investigation was performed by a regulation agency employed by Hockey Canada; it resulted in 2020.

The NHL announced in May that it could “endeavor to find out the underlying information and, to the extent this will contain gamers who are actually within the NHL, we’ll decide what motion, if any, can be applicable.”

By means of the regulation agency’s investigation, gamers from the staff had been “strongly inspired” to cooperate with the probe, however Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith testified to Canadian lawmakers final month that “12 or 13” of the 19 gamers from the staff had been interviewed. Former CEO Tom Renney referred to as the following report incomplete and stated it shouldn’t be launched.

Now, Hockey Canada says it’s going to reopen the investigation and require all gamers to take part. It stated those that don’t “might be banned from all Hockey Canada actions and packages efficient instantly.” As soon as full, an unbiased adjudicative panel “will decide the suitable penalties, which can embody a lifetime ban from Hockey Canada exercise, on and off the ice.”

Hockey Canada stated it’s going to require gamers, coaches and employees in its high-performance program to take part in sexual violence and consent coaching starting this summer time. The group additionally introduced plans to create a “totally unbiased and confidential channel to research complaints — even these historic in nature.”

“Adjustments to insurance policies and procedures can happen with the stroke of a pen,” Hockey Canada stated within the open letter. “These adjustments are meaningless, nevertheless, with out an equal dedication to addressing the poisonous behaviour that exists in lots of corners of the sport. We all know this transformation is not going to happen in a single day, however we’re dedicated to studying, and dealing with our companions to do higher.”

The lady, who sought $three.55 million in damages in a lawsuit filed in April, settled with Hockey Canada for an undisclosed quantity in Might. Information of the alleged assault and the settlement led Canadian lawmakers to question Smith and Renney final month concerning the group’s response to the allegations. Canadian Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge stated the federal government would freeze Hockey Canada’s federal funding, and several other companies with ties to Hockey Canada paused their sponsorships of the group, together with Tim Hortons and Scotiabank.

In its letter, Hockey Canada stated it intends to launch an motion plan outlining inner steps to make further strides “to advance and enhance the tradition round our recreation.”

“Reopening the investigation is a step in direction of addressing the frustration so many really feel concerning the consequence of the method we adopted,” it stated. “Our group has strived to work in one of the best curiosity of Canadians, however we acknowledge most of the actions we’re taking now ought to have been taken sooner, and quicker. We personal that and can do higher to ship on our duties to Canadians.”

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