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Hockey Canada reopens investigation into alleged sexual assault

Hockey Canada is reopening a third-party investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving eight Canadian Hockey League players, after the organization’s handling of the alleged incident triggered federal committee hearings and the suspension of corporate partnerships.

The national governing body for hockey said in an open letter on Thursday that it will take a number of measures to “end the culture of toxic behavior” within the sport. Among the actions outlined is the resumption of a probe into allegations that a group of CHL players, including members of the 2018 gold-medal-winning world junior team, sexually assaulted a woman after a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in London, Ont., on June 18, 2018.

The fallout from the allegations has been widespread. The Canadian government suspended it funding to Hockey Canada as it conducts a financial audit to confirm that taxpayer dollars weren’t used in a settlement related to the alleged incident. The National Hockey League launched its own investigation, since a number of players who attended the 2018 gala may now be in the league.

Hockey Canada is facing another round of federal hearings on the matter, slated for July 26 and 27 in Ottawa.

On top of reopening the investigation, Hockey Canada announced that it will also: require all high-performance players, coaches, team staff and volunteers to participate in mandatory sexual violence and consent training; conduct a governance review; commit to becoming a signatory to the recently created federal Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner; and create an independent and confidential complaint mechanism.

While this effort on education is great, the effort needs to begin with youth players in order to break what is a subculture of sexual deviance in junior hockey. Focusing on high-performance players will not eliminate this subculture that has existed in junior hockey for more than a century.

TJHN will update this story as more information develops.

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