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Hockey Canada Executives Testify on Sexual Assault Lawsuit

High-ranking officials with Hockey Canada testified before the House of Commons on Monday regarding the recent sexual assault case settlement involving eight unnamed CHL players.
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Content warning: the following article discusses sexual assault.

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A handful of top Hockey Canada executives testified in front of the House of Commons on Monday about a settled sexual assault lawsuit.

The lawsuit, which came to light earlier this year, stated that eight unnamed CHL players sexually assaulted a woman in June of 2018 in London, Ontario. The group included members of Canada's 2018 World Junior Championship team.

According to the statement of claim that was filed this past April, the woman claimed she was repeatedly assaulted while intoxicated in a hotel room. No details of the settlement have been released.

The woman did not speak to investigators or identify the alleged abusers and the case was not heard in court. It was settled in May of 2022.

During the testimony, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney said no public funds were used to settle the lawsuit, and that the group liquidated some of its investments to cover the costs.

Renney said the group learned of the alleged sexual assault a day after it occurred back in 2018 after Hockey Canada's vice president of human resources was contacted by the alleged's victim's stepfather.

Hockey Canada president Scott Smith said the police were called on the evening of June 19, with the Hockey Canada board being made aware of it a week to 10 days later. 

Smith said that Hockey Canada paid the settlement on behalf of the defendants in the case. 

Smith claimed neither the London Police Service nor the independent investigators involved were able to confirm the identity of the accused players.

Throughout the evening, MPs criticized Hockey Canada's investigation into the allegations, specifically in regard to how many players were involved. Hockey Canada did not require players to participate in the investigations.

Renney said he believed 4-6 players participated in the investigation, but Smith said he believes it was more than that. Canadian MP Peter Julian said it was disturbing that Hockey Canada was not aware of the actual number.

Conservative MP John Nater said that there has been zero accountability in the case, adding "Every single player who was in London that weekend should have been mandated to participate in that review — or lose the opportunity to be affiliated and the privilege of being associated with Hockey Canada."

Smith said that Hockey Canada has received 1-2 sexual assault complaints over the past 5-6 years before adding that “one complaint in six years is too many."

Renney said that Hockey Canada didn't do a good enough job of keeping an eye on its players during the event in question, saying "the line was blurred there and we fell short."

“It is the responsibility of our leaders in sport to prevent this type of behavior,” Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge said. “This cannot happen again.”

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