In the wake of the settled sexual assault lawsuit from a 2018 incident involving OHL players after a Hockey Canada event, the federal government has frozen funding for Hockey Canada, TSN’s Rick Westhead reported Wednesday.
According to Canadian Minister of Sport Pascale St. Onge, the funding will be cut off until Hockey Canada signs up with a federal agency that can independently investigate abuse complaints and issue sanctions. According to Westhead, “St-Onge said that Hockey Canada must also become a signatory to the new Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, which began accepting abuse complaints related to Canada’s national sports teams two days ago on June 20.”
In the settled lawsuit, filed in April, an unnamed woman claimed eight OHL players sexually assaulted her in June 2018 in a London, Ontario hotel following a Hockey Canada event. Earlier this week, Hockey Canada executives testified that they learned of the incident the day after it happened in 2018. Even though they still can’t confirm the eight players involved and admitted that player participation in the investigation was not mandatory, the suit was settled in three weeks. Hockey Canada president Scott Smith testified that the organization has dealt with one or two sexual assault allegations annually over the past five to six years.
Hockey Canada will not receive funding again until it details plans to implement change in the organization in its handling of abuse accusations and investigations and until it reveals in full the recommendations made by the Henein Hutchison law firm, which it hired to investigate the 2018 allegations.