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What You Need to Know About Hockey Canada’s Sexual Assault Crisis

Hockey Canadian jersey. (Photo: Darryl Dyck / The Canadian Press)

Hockey Canada is in the midst of a crisis that feels like a moment. Over the past few months, the venerable National Sports Organization (NSO) has been under immense pressure from people across the country as a result. TSN report Suspected mass sexual assault in London, Ontario involving members of the 2018 World Junior Hockey Team Another reportAlso from TSN, there are increasing allegations of sexual assault in groups involving members of Halifax’s 2003 World Junior Hockey Team.

This all happens shortly after another safe sports debate within Canada Federal government frozen funding for Canadian gymnastics last week, And allegations of abuse, sexual abuse or misuse of funds were found to have been leveled against at least eight NSOs. All of these claims came during the first five months Pascal Stoongji, the Federal Minister of Sport, was doing his job. (She took up that position in October 2021).

Here’s what you need to know about the hockey Canada crisis:

What is Hockey Canada? What are the claims made against it?

Hockey Canada is the governing body for hockey sports in the country. He oversees 13 member branches (state and territory hockey organizations) that manage and support the growth, education and well-being of sports at all levels of play. In addition, Hockey Canada is the Canadian representative of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF), the global governing body for sports.

As briefly mentioned at the beginning, Hockey Canada has been involved in a scandal involving allegations of sexual assault against members of the 2018 World Junior Hockey Team in London, Ontario. As detailed in a TSN report, a woman has sex with eight Canadian Hockey League (CHL) members, including a member who helped the 2017-18 Canadian World Junior Team win the gold medal. He claimed to have been drunk in a hotel room following Hockey Canada after being beaten up. Foundation Gala and Golf Event in June 2018. Earlier this year, she agreed to withdraw the lawsuit against Players, Hockey Canada, and CHL, the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), an affiliate of the three major Canadian-based junior hockey leagues. ), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and Western Hockey League (WHL)).

The woman reportedly said Hockey Canada was aware of the allegations, but was eventually unable to investigate the issue at that time.

The proceedings have drawn the attention of the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee of Parliament, which reviews the policies, programs, and spending of the Department of Canadian Heritage (sports fall into this category).Or Commission sought testimony from hockey Canadian authorities About the problem.

On June 20, as part of a national broadcast hearing, current hockey Canada president Scott Smith and retiring boss Tom Lenny Testimony under the oath The organization said, “I was contacted the morning after the alleged assault by the victim’s stepfather.” Therefore, Hockey Canada contacted the London Police and hired a Toronto-based law firm, Henein Hutchison LLP, to investigate. Smith said four to thirteen players participated in the investigation, adding that a third-party investigator from Hockey Canada later advised not to impose sanctions on members of the team that did not participate.

Not happy with everything they heard, The Canadian Heritage Standing Committee summoned Hockey Canada, Hennein Hutchison and CHL on June 23... This led to a recent inquiry that ended on July 27th. During this time, another disturbing series of claims came to light.

On July 21, Halifax police launched a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual assault related to Canada’s 2003 World Junior Team.according to TSN reportThe incident allegedly involved about six players who were “recorded having sex with a naked, unresponsive woman during the tournament.”

Did Hockey Canada use federal funds to settle the proceedings?

An important question the Heritage Commission was trying to figure out was whether taxpayer money was used to settle a lawsuit against a woman who was allegedly sexually assaulted in London in 2018.

The The organization says it didn’t use public fundsBut as Globe and Mail According to a report released last week, Hockey Canada comes from registration fees paid by participants at all levels of Canada’s organized hockey, which appear to have been established to assist in the resolution of proceedings. There is a completely separate fund, the National Equity Fund, built in court. The fund reportedly “has exceeded $ 15 million in recent years.”

The reaction to this report was struck by the bitter anger of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Who said“For now, I find it difficult for anyone in Canada to trust or trust someone in Hockey Canada.”

Earlier this week A second “millions of dollars” fund was reportedly discovered, This is collected from player fees for emergency medical and dental insurance. Funds from this fund were also reportedly used to protect Hockey Canada from litigation liability.

At a hearing on Wednesday, Hockey Canada Chief Financial Officer Brian Cairo testified: Hockey Canada has paid $ 7.6 million in sexual abuse settlement since 1989.. Of that amount, $ 6.8 million went to a settlement related to former junior hockey coach Graham James, who was convicted. Sexually abuse the player he coachedIncludes former NHL players Theo Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy.

How is Hockey Canada investigated?

There is a distinction that should be made in the way Hockey Canada is being investigated.

Hearings conducted by the Heritage Committee focused on understanding what hockey Canada’s behavioral leadership was as a result of allegations of sexual assault.

However, regarding the case itself, Halifax police are investigating the alleged assault in 2003, and last week revealed the following: London police will resume their investigation In the 2018 case after London Police Chief Steve Williams ordered a review of the first investigation.

“Through this review, they determined that we had more investigative opportunities available, so criminal investigations were resumed and we were able to investigate those opportunities,” Williams told The Canadian Press. rice field.

What kind of fallout did you have in the wake of these claims?

Despite these ongoing investigations, Hockey Canada is already facing the effects of its actions or omissions.

Government of Canada Frozen funds received by Hockey Canada Immediately after the first hearing of the Heritage Commission. According to Sportsnet, 6% of Hockey Canada’s budget comes from federal funding (that is, about $ 7.8 million).In addition, major sponsors Scotiabank and Telus Choose to suspend involvement in the organizationCanadian Tire has completely withdrawn its sponsorship to the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton starting August 9.

Hockey Canada Smith confirmed Wednesday Canada will still be in the tournament..

What will happen next?

This is the biggest question that most people think of when it comes to Canadian hockey.

Since then, Kennedy, who has devoted his post-play career to educating people on ways to identify, prevent and eradicate abuse, has called on all of Hockey Canada’s leadership groups to resign.

“The same people with new plans expecting different results are the definition of madness,” Kennedy said. Tweet on Tuesday.. “I asked for the resignation of Scott Smith, CEO of Hockey Canada, his leadership team, and the board of directors, and I will resign immediately and resign.

Smith said he would not resign on Wednesday when asked by Conservative John Nater if he would resign. Mr. Nator said he spoke with someone who watched a video of the alleged assault in Halifax in 2003.

These alleged cases of Canadian hockey are in the limelight due to the high-profile nature of sports in the country, but unfortunately sexual violence in Canadian sports is not a new issue. And in Interview with The Canadian Press, Laurel BalzakA professor of sports media and sports business at the University of Toronto Metropolitan said this was just the beginning. Walzak is one of the 28 Canadian scholars who signed Open letter Before the second round of hearings to Canadian Hockey, to Pascal Stoongji and Hedy Fry, Chair of the Heritage Committee. The letter states that studies show that sexual violence in hockey is a systemic problem and that men playing a leading role in Canadian hockey “must drive change.”

Hockey Canada itself admits The “toxic” culture needs to be modified. Released on July 25 action plan Its objectives are “to raise expectations for everyone involved in hockey”, “to bring positive behavior from the grassroots to the national team level”, “to set standards for training, education and inclusiveness”, “in a wide range of fields”. Show leadership. ” Sports community. “

A player from the women’s hockey team who won the Canadian Olympics and World Championships later that same day Wrote an open letter “Requests a” thorough and transparent investigation “of recent allegations of sexual assault involving the Hockey Canada team. “

In the light of what came out of Canadian hockey, it seems that in order for an organization to continue, it needs to create a new era for it.

What You Need to Know About Hockey Canada’s Sexual Assault Crisis

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