Editors’ note: This story contains alleged accounts of sexual assault. If you or someone you know is a survivor of sexual assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or that https://www.rainn.org
Hockey Canada announced it is reopening an investigation into an alleged sexual assault by members of the 2018 National Junior Team, the organization said Thursday in an open letter.
“This investigation continues to be led by an independent third party and will require all players to participate,” the letter said. “Those who do not will be banned from all Hockey Canada activities and programs effective immediately. The investigation, once complete, will be referred to an independent adjudicative panel of current and former judges who will determine the appropriate consequences, which may include a lifetime ban from Hockey Canada activity, on and off the ice.”
In addition, Hockey Canada will require all players, coaches, team staff and volunteers to undergo “mandatory sexual violence and consent training,” will conduct a full “governance review” of the organization and will create an “independent and confidential complaint mechanism.”
The woman stated that eight players, including some members of the national junior team, sexually assaulted her after a Hockey Canada gala in 2018. The woman filed a lawsuit in April against the organization, the CHL and eight players but did not name the players in the suit. Hockey Canada settled the suit in May.
The Athletic‘s Katie Strang reported that the woman recounted she met John Doe 1 at a bar and left for his hotel room “where they engaged in sexual acts.” Then, “John Doe 1 invited the remainder of the John Doe defendants into the room without the knowledge or consent of the plaintiff.”
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The woman said the group performed acts “which collectively constituted sexual abuse and assault.”
In the open letter, Hockey Canada claims to have contacted law enforcement when first hearing about the incident.
“It’s important for Canadians to understand that upon learning of these allegations, Hockey Canada immediately notified the police and Sport Canada, and engaged a respected Canadian law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the matter that spanned more than two years,” it said. “The process was not perfect, but our goal was to respect the integrity of the investigations.”
The organization also added several apologies to its fans and the plaintiff.
“We know we have not done enough to address the actions of some members of the 2018 National Junior Team, or to end the culture of toxic behavior within our game,” it said. “For that we unreservedly apologize.”
In June, former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy called on Hockey Canada to release the report of the initial investigation.