Hockey Canada’s federal funding frozen following national organization’s handling of alleged sexual assaults and settlement

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Federal funding for Hockey Canada has been frozen following the national organization’s handling of an alleged sexual assault and an out-of-court settlement.

Hockey Canada will only regain its funding after disclosing the recommendations it received from an independent law firm hired to investigate the alleged incident four years ago, Sports Minister Pascale St. Onge in a statement.

Hockey Canada must also become a signatory to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, a new government body with the power to independently investigate complaints of abuse and sanction inappropriate behavior.

The move comes after Hockey Canada President Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Renney were questioned by lawmakers this week during a hearing into the organization’s response to the alleged sexual assault involving eight players.

Hockey Canada quietly settled the lawsuit last month after a woman said she was assaulted by members of the 2018 gold medal-winning World Junior Hockey team at a reception for the organization.

The woman, now 24, sought $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and Players Anonymous. Details of the settlement were not made public, but Smith said Monday that no government or insurance money was used.

A Hockey Canada spokesperson did not respond to an email request for comment Wednesday.

Twelve of the 19 players present at the event spoke to investigators from the law firm hired by the organization. Hockey Canada has repeatedly said the woman has decided not to speak to police or the organization’s investigators. Smith and Renney reiterated on Monday that the woman also chose not to identify the players.

Smith said London police informed Hockey Canada that their criminal investigation was closed in February 2019. The independent investigation concluded in September 2020, but Renney said the report was incomplete and should not be released.

The NHL, which also only recently learned of the allegations, is conducting its own investigation as some of the players in question are now in the league.

Hockey Canada received $14 million from the government in 2020 and 2021, including $3.4 million in COVID-19 grants, government records show.

Federal money represents 6% of Hockey Canada’s funding.

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