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Hockey Canada’s funding frozen for handling of sexual assault claim

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OTTAWA (AP) — Federal funding for Hockey Canada is being frozen after the national organization reviewed an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement.

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Hockey Canada will only receive funding after it discloses recommendations it received from an independent law firm hired to investigate the alleged incident four years ago, Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge said in a statement Wednesday.

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Hockey Canada must also become a member of the Office of the Ethics Commissioner, a new government agency with the power to independently investigate complaints of abuse and punish misconduct.

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The move comes after Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Rennie were questioned by lawmakers this week during a hearing over the organization’s response to an alleged sexual assault involving eight players.

Hockey Canada quietly settled a lawsuit last month after a woman alleges she was attacked by members of the country’s 2018 junior gold medal hockey team during an organizational event.

The woman, now 24, has sought $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and unnamed players. Details of the settlement were not made public, but Smith said on Monday that neither government nor insurance money was used.

A spokeswoman for Hockey Canada did not respond to an emailed request for comment on Wednesday.

Twelve of the 19 players who attended the event spoke to law firm investigators hired by the organization. Hockey Canada has said on multiple occasions that the woman chose not to talk to the police or her investigators. Smith and Rennie confirmed on Monday that the woman also chose not to name the players.

Smith said the London Police had informed Hockey Canada that the criminal investigation was closed as of February 2019. The independent investigation ended in September 2020, but Rennie said the report was incomplete and should not be made public.

The NHL, which also only recently learned of the allegations, is conducting its own investigation as some of the players in question are now in the league.

Hockey Canada received $14 million from the government in 2020 and 2021, including $3.4 million in COVID-19 grants, according to government records.

Federal money makes up 6% of Hockey Canada’s funding.



Source: nhl.nbcsports.com

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