Hockey Canada says 2018 world junior players barred from international competition

Click to play video: 'Hockey Canada’s entire senior leadership exits over sexual abuse controversy'
Hockey Canada’s entire senior leadership exits over sexual abuse controversy
WATCH: Hockey Canada's entire senior leadership exits over sexual abuse controversy – Oct 11, 2022

Hockey Canada says no players from the 2018 world junior men’s team will be considered for international competition until an investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving members of the team is completed.

The organization told Global News in a statement on Monday that the decision was reached earlier this year that players will not be considered “until the investigation and adjudicative process of the alleged incident in 2018 are complete.”

The decision has been communicated to Team Canada management for the upcoming IIHF Men’s World Championship scheduled May 12-28 in Tampere, Finland, and Riga, Latvia, the statement says.

News broke last May that some members of the 2018 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a Hockey Canada gala event in London, Ont., in June 2018, after TSN first reported Hockey Canada had settled a civil lawsuit with the complainant.

Story continues below advertisement

Two investigations — one by London police and another by law firm Henein Hutchison, which was retained by Hockey Canada to conduct an independent probe — were launched a day after the incident allegedly occurred. Both were closed months later with no charges or sanctions against any of the players alleged to have been involved.

After the allegations became public last year, both investigations were reopened. Hockey Canada said in December it had received Henein Hutchison’s report but that it would stay private.

Earlier on Monday, the House of Commons heritage committee unanimously passed a motion ordering Hockey Canada to hand over that report within 24 hours.

The motion passed with an amendment from Liberal MP Chris Bittle to have the report redacted for privacy purposes before being submitted.

“Hockey Canada has and will continue to support the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage’s important work,” the organization told Global News.

Click to play video: 'MPs, sponsors push for more change at Hockey Canada'
MPs, sponsors push for more change at Hockey Canada

Danielle Robitaille, a partner with Henein Hutchison, said before a Heritage committee hearing into the scandal in July that the investigation was initially closed in 2018 because the complainant did not provide a statement.

Story continues below advertisement

Robitaille said she contacted Hockey Canada and asked for a mandate to reopen the investigation after learning that the complainant planned to participate.

Court documents first reported by the Globe and Mail in December and confirmed by Global News revealed London police say they have “reasonable grounds” to believe five members of the 2018 world junior team allegedly sexually assaulted a woman after a Hockey Canada gala in June 2018.

No charges have been filed and none of the allegations included in the court documents have been proven.

Hockey Canada has faced a reckoning over its overall handling of sexual assault cases involving players. Media reports have revealed the organization maintained a reserve fund, fueled by membership fees, that was used in part to settle sexual misconduct cases. Hockey Canada has said the fund will no longer be used for that purpose.

Top sponsors including Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Scotiabank and Esso pulled their sponsorships not only for the recent world juniors but the entire 2022-23 season, demanding change within the top ranks of the organization.

After months of pressure, the entire board of directors as well as president and CEO Scott Smith resigned in October. The newly-installed board has promised to change the overall culture within the sport and the organization.

—With files from the Canadian Press


Sponsored content