It came to light earlier this summer that eight members of the 2018 Hockey Canada Juniors team were accused of sexual assault. Many members of that team have since denied involvement. NHL stars such as Jordan Kyrou, Carter Hart, Robert Thomas, and Maxime Comtois have made statements about the investigation. Other players have remained silent. Those statements or lack of statements do not constitute proof that a player was or wasn’t involved and we must wait for more facts. However, today the Hockey Canada scandal has gotten even worse.
During the investigation, it’s been revealed that members of the 2003 World Junior team were also accused of sexual assault. It is also alledged that Hockey Canada knew about these two assaults and covered it up for years, using money from a slush fund to keep the allegations quiet. This is a dark time for hockey and it’s a much-needed day of reckoning.
The Hockey Canada Scandal is Getting Worse
The 2018 World Juniors Team Needs to Come Clean
In May 2022, Canadian authorities and the NHL announced they would be investigating accusations of sexual assault. A young woman came forward, accusing eight players from the 2018 World Juniors team of sexually assaulting her in London, Ontario. There was a lawsuit levied against the organization that was settled out of court. But now the NHL wants to conduct its own investigation. In a statement made by the league, they referred to the acts as “abhorrent and reprehensible.” It’s possible that the players will receive discipline from the league and authorities.
While many continue to deny involvement, there is still a long way to go in this investigation. There are still many who’ve yet to speak, such as Drake Batherson and Michael McLeod. Once again the lack of statements is not proof that these players were involved in the incident. There may be legal reasons why they are not talking.
In a statement made by the woman, she was introduced by one player, John Doe 1, to his teammates. They bought her shots and other kinds of alcoholic drinks. She became inebriated over the course of the evening. She went back to the team hotel with ‘John Doe 1’. From there, without her consent, he invited seven other players to engage in sexual acts. The woman experienced constant feelings of fear and terror. She was also physically harmed during the ordeal.
It is alleged that her intoxication was so high, that there was no way she could have given consent. She was forced to stay, despite begging to leave. It is also alleged that the players involved also coerced her into saying she was sober on video, despite evidence showing otherwise. It’s clear that someone isn’t telling the truth and the time to come clean is overdue.
Further Coverups by Hockey Canada Are Unveiled
But this is just the beginning. As reported by TSN’s Rick Westhead, the investigation uncovered another dark secret. The 2003 Juniors team also is being investigated for sexual assault. The Halifax Police will be opening the investigation, as it occurred in their city. The main piece of evidence has been a video of the horrific act taken by one of the players. It details every despicable act carried out on the victim. This act was also covered up by Hockey Canada. It’s taken nearly twenty years for it to come to light. As a result, the Canadian government and corporate sponsors have pulled funding from Hockey Canada. There is still much information to be revealed, and Halifax Police won’t reveal anything until their investigation is complete. But it still speaks to the toxic culture brewing within the organization.
Three sources who claim to have seen a video allegedly showing a half dozen players having non-consensual sex with a woman during the 2003 tournament in Halifax told me they would testify in private before a govt committee.
More on @SportsCentre and @CTVNationalNews tonight.
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) July 22, 2022
A Day of Reckoning Has Finally Come
The past year has been full of scandals across professional hockey. There have been a number of allegations around the hockey world, including but not limited to the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal, Jake Virtanen‘s domestic abuse history, Evander Kane‘s toxic past, Daryl Katz’ past, and now these allegations against Hockey Canada have come to light. It’s clear that much change is needed. In fact, it’s been long overdue. Hockey has long overlooked these kinds of crimes and now is forced to confront them. Once the facts are known, punishments and suspensions won’t be enough. Hockey needs a culture reset. But it isn’t just exclusive to hockey. This can be applied to sports, business, and society as a whole.
As the investigation carries on, one can only hope that proper justice is served. This is a day of reckoning for hockey. And it’s been a long time coming.