Top Hockey Canada officials defended themselves Monday by asserting that it is “very common” to settle a civil dispute out of court, such as that of the alleged victim of a gang rape allegedly committed by eight of its players. Federal Sports Minister Pascal Saint Ong has promised to tighten federal oversight.
“We’re not able to figure out what happened that night,” Tom Rainey, the outgoing CEO of Hockey Canada, told elected officials of the Federal Heritage Committee, Monday night.
The organization asserts that it does not want to “hide under the rug” allegations of sexual assault targeting unnamed players, even if they were settled out of court, four years after the events, the three and a half million dollar lawsuit was filed. by the alleged victim.
However, officials said they were informed of the case on the morning of June 19, 2018, the day after the Hockey Foundation Canada party in London, Ontario, the evening the alleged facts occurred. They claim to have alerted local police and Canadian sports officials in the hours that followed.
Hockey Canada, which the federal sports minister presented as “one of the most powerful sports organizations in the country,” then hired an outside company to conduct the investigation and said it provided assistance to the victim. The latter did not want to take part in the investigation, which made the managers say it was impossible to impose disciplinary measures on the young athletes involved.
These managers were unable to determine how many of the nineteen players who attended the evening of the events cooperated in the external investigation. They initially estimated this number to be 4 to 6, and later changed that estimate to 12 or 13. Elected officials on all sides were highly skeptical of comments made by Hockey Club Canada officials and the organization wished to correct the “ambiguities” in the code of conduct regulating off-ice activities, such as celebration.
Minister St Ong then appeared before the commission by giving a committed speech against the “culture of silence” that seemed to persuade the commission’s elected members, including those in the opposition. In particular, I promised a “full review [les] Funding agreements’ with sports organizations require that they have effective whistleblowing mechanisms in place, for example.
Hockey Canada asserts that it did not use public funds for the settlement reached with the alleged victim. Sure enough, the minister said she would continue with the scrutiny she had already announced. The company hired by the federal government must visit Hockey Canada offices next week, and must file a report at the end of August.
The minister defended the organization’s public funding – $14 million, according to CBC’s calculations – despite the case. “Hockey Canada is a women’s team too. It’s more than just a story,” she said. Federal funding is the only lever with which to interfere in hockey affairs, she said.
The minister said that since 2018, at least 47 complaints have been submitted to her ministry, for a variety of issues, ranging from psychological harassment to sexual crimes.
The appearance of Hockey Canada’s top officials comes on the day Sarah-Yves Pelletier takes over the newly created position of Canada’s Sports Integrity Commissioner, a former athlete on the national swimming team.
“What we want to avoid is that there is no one to turn to,” El-Sayed explained.I Pelletier interview in Should.
Initially, the Commissioner can only receive complaints, investigate or make recommendations to sports federations that voluntarily agree to delegate this authority to them. On Monday, only the Canadian Volleyball Federation and the Canadian Weightlifting Federation signed on. Several other sports organizations are about to complete their registration, however, the commissioner confirmed.
Can the Integrity Commissioner examine cases of aggression by athletes against non-athletes, such as the alleged crime in Hockey Canada? “If there is an association with sports activities, then yes, we will at least look at what happened,” confirms MI Pelletier, without wishing to comment on the specific case and to recall that the defendant must belong to a signatory organization.
Minister Pascal Saint-Aung pledged on Monday evening to ensure that all sports organizations in the country are required to join the independent body, a “safe place for athletes to lodge their complaints”. It did not specify the timetable.