On Friday, the U.S. Center for SafeSport reported USA Hockey to Congress. According to The Athletic, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley sent the hockey governing organization a letter reminding them to cooperate with a U.S. Center for SafeSport investigation. The specifics of the investigation remain unknown at this time.
NEWS: USA Hockey has been reported to Congress for potential interference in US Center for SafeSport investigation https://t.co/yMLoqD3zAx
— Katie Strang (@KatieJStrang) February 11, 2022
USA Hockey Reported to Congress
The U.S. Center for SafeSport works to prevent and address sexual abuse of minors and amateur athletes. Congress authorized their work. Consequently, they may report cases to Congress when governing organizations refuse to cooperate. In December 2021, members of Congress delivered a similar reminder to USA Badminton on behalf of the U.S. Center for SafeSport.
Additionally, this is not the first time U.S. Center for SafeSport scrutinized USA Hockey. In 2020, president Jim Smith was investigated for his handling of sexual abuse allegations against Tom “Chico” Adrahtas. Though Smith served as president of the AHAI (Amateur Hockey Association of Illinois) when the reports arose, he denied knowing of Adrahtas’ actions. He did not run for reelection as president of USA Hockey.
What This Means for the Future
Coming in the wake of the Chicago Blackhawks and NHL’s mishandling of sexual abuse cases, this new complaint against USA Hockey is yet another strike on the record of hockey organizations. In recent years, hockey as a whole has seen an alarming uptick in sexual abuse allegations. Even more alarming is the way that hockey organizations handled the allegations. From cover-ups to blunt denials, higher-ups have demonstrated a propensity to turn a blind eye rather than to seek justice against the perpetrators. Because of their actions, the stigma surrounding sexual abuse in hockey has skyrocketed, making it increasingly difficult for victims to speak out.
Only time will tell how USA Hockey responds to this case. But if they answer no differently than organizations before them, it will be another dismal failure to add to hockey’s growing pile.