Hockey Canada scandal, explained: Why the organization is reopening the investigation into the 2018 sexual assault trial


Editor’s note: The following story deals with sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.

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Hockey Canada has announced it is reopening its investigation into allegations of sexual assault in 2018 involving players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior Team.

In a statement from the organization released Thursday, Hockey Canada admitted that it “has not done enough to respond to the actions of some members of the 2018 National Junior Team or to end the culture of toxic behavior in our sport “.

The organization will require all players on this list to participate in the survey. Those who do not cooperate will be banned from participating in all Hockey Canada activities and programs, according to the announcement.

An independent third party will continue to dig into the details of the allegations. The woman, who has chosen to remain anonymous, has reportedly agreed to participate in the reopening of the investigation, her lawyer told Sportsnet on Thursday.

Here’s more information about the sexual assault allegations and why the case is being reopened.

What are the sexual assault allegations?

In April 2022, a woman filed a lawsuit against Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and eight anonymous CHL players, alleging she was sexually assaulted in a London, Ont. hotel room in June 2018 following a Hockey Canada event.

The woman chose not to name any of the players involved and said in her initial statement that they were eight “players and members of the CHL and Hockey Canada, including but not limited to members of Canada’s U20 men’s junior hockey team.”

According to the lawsuit, the woman met the players at a bar, which was in London, Ontario. for the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala and Golf event on June 18, 2018. She met one of the players, called John Doe 1, who bought her some booze. The woman said she was separated from her group of friends as she became more drunk and eventually left the bar and went to a hotel with John Doe 1.

At the hotel, the two “engage in sexual acts” in John Doe 1’s hotel room. The woman said that after that, “John Doe 1 invited the rest of the defendants John Doe into the room without the plaintiff’s knowledge or consent.”

The woman said in the statement that over the next few hours, John Does 1-8 engaged in several sexual acts “which collectively constituted sexual abuse and assault against the plaintiff.” During these assaults, “Plaintiff experienced a lifelong apprehension of imminent physical harm of a sexual nature. Defendants John Doe’s actions struck terror and fear into Plaintiff’s mind.”

In the complaint, the woman states that she could not consent to any of the actions due to her drunkenness. Moreover, the group of eight did not let her out of the room, despite multiple attempts by the victim.

The woman claimed Hockey Canada was aware of the allegations and did nothing about them. According to a statement from Hockey Canada, the organization said it reported the allegations to police and also hired a third-party company, Henein Hutchison LLP, to conduct an independent investigation.

What were the results of the initial investigation?

According to Hockey Canada, players were “strongly encouraged” to participate in the third-party survey, but it was not mandatory. In total, the organization specifies that “12 or 13” players participated in the survey.

Hockey Canada quietly settled the lawsuit in May. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Why is Hockey Canada reopening the investigation into sexual assault allegations?

After the investigation was initially closed, Hockey Canada began to receive backlash from Canada’s political figures and sponsors, in addition to the sport’s supporters.

Canada’s Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge announced that federal funding for the organization was to be frozen until the organization signs with the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC) and has provided detailed plans on implementing the changes to prohibit actions like those that allegedly took place in 2018 from happening again.

Hockey Canada’s corporate sponsors, such as Scotiabank, TELUS, Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons and Imperial Oil (Esso) have suspended sponsorships that were scheduled for the upcoming World Junior Championships until a change occurs in within the organization.

As a result, Hockey Canada has joined OSIC and is reopening its investigation, in addition to announcing a number of changes. According to the Hockey Canada news release Thursday morning, the following plans are in place, in addition to the two previously listed:

  • Will require all players, coaches, high-level staff and volunteers to participate in mandatory sexual violence and consent training
  • Will conduct a full governance review of Hockey Canada
  • Create a new independent and confidential complaint mechanism

“What happened in London, Ont., in 2018 was completely unacceptable,” Hockey Canada said in a statement. “And we apologize once again to the Canadians, to the young woman and to everyone who has been affected.”

Who are the actors involved in the sexual assault allegations?

The eight players involved in the allegations remained anonymous, however, five players came forward and said they were not among those charged.

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar, free agent Victor Mete, Lightning defenseman Cal Foote, Predators defenseman Dante Fabbro and Sharks forward Jonah Gadjovich have all released personal statements or their agents have released statements to the name of their clients, stating that they were not involved.

Fabbro and Foote’s agents sent statements to Ken Campbell, a Canadian hockey writer, clearing their clients. Gadjovich’s agent told San Jose Hockey Now his client was “not involved in the incident.”

Makar was asked about the allegations during media availability for the 2022 Stanley Cup Finals and told reporters he was not involved. He also said he was one of the few who cooperated with the third-party investigation.

Mete’s agent told Campbell that his client was in Cancún during the Hockey Canada gala, clearing him of any charges. Additionally, Mete published a statement on Twitter.


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