Hockey Canada apologizes; reopens investigation into alleged sexual assault

In an open letter posted Thursday, the organization said it was reopening an independent investigation after an outcry from fans, families, sponsors and those involved in the alleged incident following a previous two-year review.

The governing body acknowledged that the previous process was “not perfect” and had not done enough following a purported 2018 assault of a woman by several members of the junior team in London, Ontario.

“We know you are angry and disappointed in Hockey Canada — rightfully so,” the open letter states. “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 behavior within our game.

Hockey Canada says all members of the 2018 team will be required to participate in the new investigation or otherwise be “banned from all Hockey Canada activities and programs effective immediately.”

The investigation comes two months after Canadian broadcaster TSN reported a lawsuit levied against Hockey Canada, the players and the Canadian Hockey League had been dropped by the woman involved following a settlement.

In May, the National Hockey League acknowledged the case by saying it had been “advised of a lawsuit involving sexual allegations filed against eight unnamed members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior hockey team.” The league called the allegations “abhorrent and reprehensible.”

In June, the Canadian government announced it was freezing federal, public funding for Hockey Canada until the organization had submitted the complete results of the original investigation and plans for implementing change within Hockey Canada. Canada’s Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge stated: “This is about changing a deeply entrenched culture, it’s not about simple Band-Aid solutions.”

In Thursday’s open letter, Hockey Canada admitted it had failed “to end the culture of toxic behavior within our game” and the organization itself will be subjected to a review by a third-party expert.

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