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“Absolutely Unacceptable” – Prime Minister Weighs in on Hockey Canada Scandal

Photo by Andre Ringuette

“Absolutely Unacceptable” – Prime Minister Weighs in on Hockey Canada Scandal

Canadians and hockey are synonymous, right? Well, the past few weeks have certainly put a black smear on the image painted by the country’s top governing body, Hockey Canada.

Over the past number of days, revelations following the re-opening of a years old investigation and its handling have most up in arms.

A case of sexual assault from 2018 has taken over mainstream media as the hottest topic in hockey these days. And rightly so.

As depicted by the victim – a young female – eight members of Hockey Canada’s Canadian Hockey League, including players from the World Junior Hockey Championship team participated in heavy sexual assault and gang rape of the heavily intoxicated young female in a hotel room in London in 2018. The players then directed her to remain hush-hush on what had occurred, while overtly stating her coherentness and functionality during the entire process.

She has since gone public with the details of what transpired, along with Hockey Canada’s handling of the situation, causing public outrage to those who have entrusted the top governing body with their time, money and children’s safety.

Even Canada’s Prime Minister is talking about it.

“What we’re learning today is absolutely unacceptable,” Justin Trudeau said to reporters in British Columbia. “I think right now it’s hard for anyone in Canada to have faith or trust in anyone at Hockey Canada.”

Trudeau’s comments came after documents indicated a $15 million kitty fund owned by Hockey Canada that has been used to cover the costs of various sexual assaults, misconducts and disputes over the past number of years.

Hockey Canada calls it the ‘National Equity Fund’.

In May, Hockey Canada settled the raging dispute in relation to its World Junior and CHL players to the tune of $3.5 million.

It said that no public or sponsorship dollars were used as a means of paying this settlement. The question then remains as to where the money came from.

Hockey Canada’s CEO Scott Smith said the organization liquidated parts of its investments to gather the funds. He did not make clear where the dollars came from. The information related to the newly discovered kitty fund makes things much more clear.

“A few years ago I had my son in hockey, and when I think about the culture that is apparently permeating the highest orders of that organization, I can understand why so many parents, so many Canadians who take such pride in our national winter sport, are absolutely disgusted by what’s going on,” Prime Minister Trudeau continued. “And certainly as a government, we will continue to be unequivocal in our condemnation of what we’re learning and mostly in our demands that things change significantly.”

Since the settlement, nearly every major Hockey Canada sponsor has pulled out of the running for the upcoming World Juniors event, causing Hockey Canada to re-open its investigation. The government has also frozen all funding to Hockey Canada following its handling of the 2018 sexual assault case.

This certainly means trouble for the players who served on the 2018 World Junior team. And even more trouble for the guilty parties.

But at this point, nearly every player on the team has either released a statement explaining his innocence or had his agent do so over the past few weeks.

Hockey Canada has since sent out an apology statement to Canadians on its past behaviour, in hopes of changing the minds of those who continually pay registration fees every year – which unknowingly going into this fund to help cover up cases of sexual assault within the country. Every player – from youth through senior hockey – pays a $23.80 annual membership fee upon registration.

Where that money goes is only just beginning to become clear. And the picture is not a pretty one.

 

Carter Brooks - Associate Editor of Game On Magazine - is a news writer and sports columnist situated in Winnipeg, MB. On top of reading and writing, his favourite pastimes include camping, car-modification projects and coaching hockey. Carter can be reached at carterbrooks1994@gmail.com or on Twitter at @GameOnHockey.

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