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Hockey Canada Executives Testify Before Standing Committee, Questions

HOCKEY CANADA EXECUTIVES TESTIFY BEFORE STANDING COMMITTEE, MORE QUESTIONS LOOM

JUN 21, 2022  (12H57)      JON
TW // SA

Monday June 20, executives of Hockey Canada testified before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to answer for the alleged 2018 rape of a young woman by eight then-CHL players. Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney & President Scott Smith both sat before Canadian MPs to answer questions over the settlement, and their testimonies left more questions than answers. The incident in question took place at a Hockey Canada sponsored golf tournament & gala in London, OT. The case involves eight players, some of whom played on Canada's WJC team, and Hockey Canada settled the case seemingly without hesitation. As Renney & Smith testified, it is clear that the Standing Committee was not satisfied & still has questions.

TSN's Rick Westhead was on site & provided prompt & detailed updates on the day's events, and his coverage of cases like this is unparalleled:


As Westhead reports, Hockey Canada set no requirements of its players to participate in a third party investigation. Additionally, there was no legal or organizational penalty for declining to participate, which is very troubling. Canadian MP Kevin Waugh blasted Hockey Canada & its officials upon learning HC failed to compel its players' participations. He begins, 'does it not resonate with you that these eight players could be coaching five years down the road?' he asked Renney & Smith. 'You own that. That is unacceptable.'

Waugh is spot on, but there is much more. Renney maintained that the settlement & lack of sanctions on the players involved were advised from the third-party investigator, Henein Hutchinson, citing a lack of due process for the players. He continued that if further information ever came out (which, it did) they would 'reengage the investigative process.' Much ado was made over the lack of action by Hockey Canada to hold its players accountable.


Since the suit was settled out of court, there is a statute of limitations on public statements about the case by parties involved, which was another area of discussion. Two days before TSN initially reported on the lawsuit, CEO Tom Renney told Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge a Non-Disclosure Agreement was signed as part of the settlement. The NHL has opened its own investigation into the matter, and the NDA could prohibit the plaintiff from participating. Another piece that sent committee members into a frenzy.

There were several key pieces of information unveiled by Renney & Smith's testimonies, which expose a serious corruption within Hockey Canada. It was noted that HC did not use insurance money to pay the $3.55 million settlement, rather liquidating some of its investments to foot the bill. The significance here suggests that HC & its counsel understood they would be found liable, therefore ineligible for insurance compensation. After all, the event was Hockey Canada sponsored, there was likely underage drinking, and the subsequent assault fell under their supervision. Hockey Canada maintained that their actions were made to take accountability, however MPs were not sold. MP John Nater proclaimed 'No one lost the privilege of wearing the maple leaf...every player who was in London should have been mandated to participate in the investigation... or no longer be affiliated with [Hockey Canada].'

Sport Minister St-Onge was deliberate in her closing remarks, in which she expressed the following: 'I find it extremely disturbing and it shows that the culture of silence is well instilled in this sport, and there needs to be more action from Hockey Canada, for sure, in those regards.' The Standing Committee, as well as the NHL, are both actively investigating the matter & are expected to summon more witnesses for testimony. It is also believed that reckoning is coming for the players involved in the allegations, as the movement to release their identities is garnering more & more support by the day. This is a developing story, and more information is expected over the following weeks & months.
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