(Ottawa) The former Chief Executive of Hockey Canada deplores the “speculative” coverage of allegations of gang rape against eight former Canadian Hockey League (CHL) players and vowed we never intended to “cover up” the alleged assault. The athletes affected by the lawsuit have not spent a dime of their money to settle the case out of court.
Posted at 4:29pm
Updated at 5:03 p.m
In his opening remarks to the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee on Monday, outgoing Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney said the organization had not attempted to “sweep the matter under the rug.”
He was joined by Hockey Canada President and Chief Operating Officer Scott Smith, Hockey Canada Foundation President Dave Andrews and an attorney, Andrew Winton. However, the latter did not have the right to address elected officials during this committee hearing.
On April 20, a young woman filed a lawsuit against eight former Canadian Hockey League (CHL) players, the league itself, and Hockey for $3.55 million, including $2 million in past and future monetary damages and $1 million in punitive damages Canada.
However, the organization was very quickly made aware of the alleged facts, which reportedly date back to the night of June 18-19 The press. Tom Renney confirmed this to the elected members of the committee and said he was informed of the incident on June 19, 2018.
Police authorities were alerted “between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m.” on the evening of June 19, as Scott Smith to his right specifies.
Not a penny from the players
The out-of-court settlement check was signed by Hockey Canada “on behalf of all defense attorneys” – meaning the hockey players involved paid nothing, Scott Smith said when asked by liberal Anthony Housefather, who seemed surprised by the revelation.
And the identity of the athletes, the organization says, is not known to them.
If we had known the number on their shirt, we probably would have sanctioned those players, Mr Smith argued, trusting the alleged victim’s will not to identify his attackers.
We were alarmed at the committee table. Because these alleged attackers could now be players from a team in the National Hockey League (NHL) or the American League. You could be a coach. The anonymity granted to them by the confidential agreement is unacceptable, stressed elected officials.
The gang rape allegedly took place in London, Ontario, hours after a gala hosted by Hockey Canada on the sidelines of its foundation’s annual golf tournament.
Another revelation – and a contradiction – made elected officials wince. Tom Renney and Scott Smith ran in response to a question from New Democrat MP Peter Julian asking them the number of players they had met as part of Henein Hutchison LLP’s independent internal survey.
The first said they were four or six.
The second contradicted him, saying that number was higher and that “12 or 13” players were hit by the company’s investigators.
The alleged victim, now 24, has accused the young players, some of whom had just won junior world champion gold with the Canadian side, of assaulting them in a hotel room early in the morning.
TSN reporter Rick Westhead was the first to cover the case, citing the 18-page lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court. The document that The press has since obtained does not identify either the young woman or her attackers.
When asked about the number of allegations of sexual misconduct brought to the attention of Hockey Canada in recent years, Scott Smith estimated that “for the past five to six years” there have been “one or two cases per year.”
On April 20, 2022, the date plaintiff’s lawsuit was filed, Tom Renney announced his resignation.
Pure coincidence, he said at the committee table. “There’s no connection,” he blurted out.
St-Onge’s performance is imminent
Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge is due to appear before the committee later this afternoon.
In early June, she asked Hockey Canada, an organization funded by the federal government, to provide her with a financial audit to determine whether the organization used taxpayer money to reach an out-of-court settlement with the victim.
“I want to know if taxpayer money has been used to cover up this gang rape story,” she said in announcing the opening of this investigation.
The Commons committee was due to hear former federation vice-president for insurance and risk management Glen McCurdie on Monday, but he backed out for personal reasons.
The Bloc Québécois, the party behind these hearings, was told the committee could send them an invitation.
With Simon-Olivier Lorange, Guillaume Lefrançois and Joël-Denis Bellavance, The press