One of the world’s most prominent hockey governing bodies is being rocked by controversy.
Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny since May when allegations of sexual assault were made public in a lawsuit that the organization settled. In the complaint, filed in April in Ontario Superior Court, a young woman alleged that she was assaulted by eight players in a London, Ont., hotel room following a Hockey Canada Foundation event in June 2018. Members of Canada’s gold medal-winning world junior team were among those accused of assault in the lawsuit.
Since the initial report, the National Hockey League has said it would investigate the lawsuit. The Canadian federal government has called on members of Hockey Canada to testify on the lawsuit before calling for an investigation to be done through a third party, while members of Parliament and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have condemned the hockey federation. Prominent sponsors have also drawn their support of Hockey Canada.
Hockey Canada released an open letter last week saying it would reopen its investigation into the alleged assault, and the alleged victim has acknowledged that she will participate.
Some players who were part of the junior team have also released statements, or told the media directly, that they weren’t involved.
On July 26 and 27, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is scheduled to discuss Hockey Canada’s role in dealing with the alleged sexual assault.
Here is a timeline of events that have been reported so far:
July 20: National Equity Fund will no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims, Colton Point releases statement
Hockey Canada announces this in a statement released to the press. Hockey Canada says it will be ‘exclusively dedicated towards safety, wellness and equity initiatives, as well as insurance across our organization…’.
Goaltender Colton Point releases a statement saying he was “not in any way involved in the alleged incident” and says he first became aware of the allegations in 2019.
July 19: More members of the 2018 World Junior team release statements, Canadian MP slams Hockey Canada
MP Chris Bittle addresses a report from the Globe and Mail that revealed Hockey Canada used a fund consisting of youth players’ registration fees to pay out sexual assault cases, calling it “absolutely shocking” and “troubling.” Hockey Canada also releases a statement saying that it is conducting a full governance review, which would include the administration of the National Equity Fund. Hockey Canada acknowledges the fund is used to cover claims that aren’t covered by insurance premiums including “harassment” and “sexual misconduct.”
Jordan Kyrou, Taylor Raddysh, Robert Thomas and Sam Steel release statements denying any involvement in the 2018 incident. Kyrou says he wasn’t at the gala in Londonwhile Raddysh and Thomas both say they were not involved. Steel’s statement is released through his agent, Gerry Johansson. All four players say that they will cooperate with any future investigations.
Scott Fenton, a criminal defense lawyer tells Global News that none of Wasserman Hockey’s six players — including Kyrou, Point and Raddysh, but also Jake Bean, Kale Clague, Carter Hart — who were on that 2018 team “engaged in wrongdoing.” They also cooperated with the London Police Service during their investigation in 2018, and were then “cleared of any wrongdoing.”
David Cowan of O2K Sports Management also told Global News that his client, Dillon Dube, did not ‘engage in any wrongdoing’ while also cooperating with London Police during their investigation.
July 18: Conor Timmins denies any involvement in the alleged assault
Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins releases a statement through the Quartexx Management agency denying any involvement with the incident and says he has “no personal knowledge of what occurred.”
July 14: Alleged victim says she’ll participate in new Hockey Canada investigation and an open letter
The lawyer of the alleged victim of the 2018 sexual assault confirms via e-mail that her client will participate in the reopened Hockey Canada investigation on the 2018 incident. Earlier in the day, Hockey Canada confirms it is reopening its investigation through an open letter, saying what happened in June 2018 in London was “completely unacceptable.”
June 30: Victor Mete denies involvement, Canadian restaurants suspends partnerships
Defenseman Victor Mete releases a statement saying he wasn’t present at the gala in 2018 but was in Jamaica with his family and only “learned of the situation recently through media reports.” Canadian restaurant chains Swiss Chalet and The Keg also announce they are suspending their partnerships with Hockey Canada.
June 29: Telus, Tim Hortons and BDO Canada suspend and pause partnerships with Hockey Canada
A number of Hockey Canada sponsors announce that they are either suspending partnerships with Hockey Canada entirely, or at least withholding support of the men’s World Junior Championship in August. Companies like Tim Hortons and BDO call for Hockey Canada to make the sport and its culture safer on and off the ice.
Hockey equipment company Bauer reveals in a statement that it is following the situation to determine the next steps in its Hockey Canada partnership.
June 28: Canadian Tire and Scotiabank both withdraw and suspend support of Hockey Canada
Canadian Tire tells The Athletic that it would “immediately withdraw its sponsorship support” for the World Juniors and would also “re-evaluate” its relationship with Hockey Canada. Meanwhile, Scotiabank announces its pause of support via a statement. The bank also announces it will redirect funds to the Hockey Canada Assist Fund and the Women’s World Championship.
Scotiabank pauses sponsorship of Hockey Canada following recent reports of alleged assault involving younger ambassadors to Canada’s game.
We’re committed to ensuring hockey is safe, inclusive and accessible for all. Read our CEO’s open letter in the Globe & Mail. pic.twitter.com/LEICJ6AH6i
—Scotiabank (@scotiabank) June 28, 2022
June 23: Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage schedules hearings for July 26-27
The committee invites Canadian Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, Hockey Canada and the third-party investigator into the sexual assault case to stand before them. St-Onge also told TSN that government funds for Hockey Canada would be frozen until the governing body agrees to work with a third-party group that would investigate abuse complaints.
June 21: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau blasts Hockey Canada
Trudeau calls Hockey Canada’s handling of the sexual assault allegations “unacceptable” while speaking in Parliament.
June 20: Hockey Canada officials testify in front of Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage
Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and CEO Tom Renney are asked about the organization’s standards and review process in light of the sexual assault lawsuit. It is revealed that Hockey Canada doesn’t know the identities of the eight men involved in the alleged assault and that players from the junior team weren’t required to participate in Hockey Canada’s investigation.
June 14: Cale Makar denies any involvement with 2018 incident
One day before the start of the 2022 Stanley Cup Final between the Colorado Avalanche and the Tampa Bay Lightning, Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar discusses the lawsuit with the media. Makar says he wasn’t ‘part of that’ and cooperated with Hockey Canada’s initial investigation. He also says he’ll cooperate with the NHL in its investigation.
May 30: Agents for Dante Fabbro and Cal Foote say they weren’t involved
JP Barry tells Ken Campbell of Hockey Unfiltered that Fabbro was ‘in bed sleeping’ and not part of the alleged assault. Kurt Overhardt, Foote’s agent, also tells Campbell that his client was not involved.
May 27: Jonah Gadjovich’s agent Jason Harshaw says he was not involved
Harshaw provides a statement to Sheng Peng of San Jose Hockey Now adding that his client has no comment on ‘legal proceedings and the settlement involving other parties’.
May 26: The NHL says it will conduct an investigation into the Hockey Canada/CHL lawsuit
The NHL releases a statement two days after it was notified of the lawsuit against Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League. The league says it will “endeavor to determine the underlying facts” and, if it involves players who are currently in the NHL, “will determine what action, if any, would be appropriate.”
May 26: Hockey Canada and Canadian Hockey League settle sexual assault lawsuit
TSN’s Rick Westhead first reports details of the lawsuit and that Hockey Canada settled with the alleged victim.
April 20: Alleged victim files lawsuit against Hockey Canada and Canadian Hockey League
In the lawsuit, the alleged victim refers to the players accused as John Does 1-8. The claim also says the players involved were “members of the CHL and Hockey Canada, including but not limited to members of Canada’s U20 men’s junior hockey team.”
(Top pic: Jerome Miron/USA Today)