Hockey Canada Reopens Investigation into Alleged Sexual Assault by Members of World Junior Team

In an open letter, the organization said "we have not done enough" to "end the culture of toxic behaviour within our game"

Canada's Connor Bedard (16) skates against Austria during the third period of an IIHF junior world hockey championships game
Photo: Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP

Hockey Canada published an open letter on Thursday announcing it would reopen an independent investigation into an alleged sexual assault by eight members of its 2018 junior team.

"We are reopening the investigation into the alleged sexual assault perpetrated by members of the 2018 National Junior Team," the organization said in its message.

"This investigation continues to be led by an independent third party and will require all players to participate," Hockey Canada continued. "Those who do not will be banned from all Hockey Canada activities and programs effective immediately."

According to the Washington Post, a woman claimed eight members of Canada's 2018 world junior team sexually assaulted her following a Hockey Canada Foundation golf event that June.

A criminal investigation by police ended in 2019, the outlet reported. A different probe by a law firm hired by Hockey Canada was also closed in 2020.

Last month, the Canadian government said it was halting federal and public funding for Hockey Canada until it shared the complete results of the initial investigation and its plans to address change in the organization, CNN reported.

"This is about changing a deeply entrenched culture, it's not about simple Band-Aid solutions," Pascale St-Onge, Canada's Minister of Sport, tweeted of the funding freeze in June.

In its letter, Hockey Canada called its two-year investigation into the assault "not perfect" and said reopening the case would be a "step towards addressing the disappointment so many feel about the outcome of the process we followed."

"It's important for Canadians to understand that upon learning of these allegations, Hockey Canada immediately notified police and Sport Canada, and engaged a respected Canadian law firm to conduct an independent investigation of the matter that spanned more than two years. The process was not perfect, but our goal was to respect the integrity of the investigations."

Hockey Canada said the alleged incident was "completely unacceptable" and apologized to "Canadians, the young woman, and all those who have been impacted."

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"We know we have not done enough to address the actions of some members of the 2018 National Junior Team, or to end the culture of toxic behaviour within our game," the organization said in its message.

They added: "For that we unreservedly apologize."

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