Already dealing with a difficult case involving a group sexual assault allegedly committed in 2018, Hockey Canada must now deal with another similar incident that allegedly took place in 2003.
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Hockey Canada has been made aware of “troubling revelations” after being contacted by TSN and CTV News reporter Rick Westhead. The latter would have spoken to “several witnesses who gave him explicit descriptions of the attack following an interview with Conservative MP John Nater”, the organization explained in a statement sent on Friday.
About Nater, he said Friday afternoon on his Twitter account that he was contacted by someone who claimed to have information about a sexual assault involving members of the 2002-2003 junior national team.
“I have passed the information the individual gave me to the police in Halifax, where this alleged incident took place, and encouraged them to contact the police directly,” the Perth constituency MP wrote. Wellington, Ont.
The incident in question, a gang assault, reportedly took place in Halifax during the 2003 World Junior Championship. Hockey Canada also said it quickly contacted authorities in the Nova Scotian city, in addition to inviting Westhead and Nater to do the same to communicate their information .
The TSN network would also have three sources in this story, including the one to whom the camera belonged, who would have preferred to remain anonymous for fear of reprisal. The latter reportedly deleted the video after being pressured by the players in question to do so. However, he believes that a copy of the video would have been made.
Hockey Canada also said it quickly contacted authorities in the Nova Scotian city, in addition to inviting Westhead and Nater to do the same to share their information.
“Hockey Canada immediately called the Halifax Regional Police Service as Halifax co-hosted the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship and also informed Sport Canada of the information they had received,” it said.
As part of that team, former National Leaguer Carlo Colaiacavo, now an analyst for TSN, quickly distanced himself from the alleged facts.
“As a member of this team, it is important for everyone to know that I have no involvement or knowledge of this incident in any way,” he wrote in a brief statement shared on his social networks. I will cooperate with all investigations.”
In addition, another hockey player of this edition has been talked about, but for the wrong reasons. In one of his books, striker Jordin Tootoo dwells on the World Cup, but one passage in particular catches attention and has set the web on fire.
“We were just children then. The things we did… we were sexually turned on by young men, it says. We were in Halifax and all the girls there were looking at us. What do you do during that time? We have to take them down one by one. And it wasn’t just a man and a woman thing. A couple of the players brought a couple of girls home after practice and they were all heading into a room. I’ve said enough.”
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An independent investigator
The national body called on Halifax police to investigate and said it wanted to work closely with law enforcement.
Police authorities in the Nova Scotian capital also appear to have quickly seized the ball as they launched an investigation after receiving a case on the matter late Thursday night.
He also, even before Rick Westhead’s email, requested the help of an independent investigator after “hearing a rumor that something bad had happened at the World Juniors in 2003”.
Hockey Canada was already targeted from all sides for reaching a settlement with a young woman who says she was raped by eight national team players in June 2018 after a gala for the organization held in London, Ontario. In the past few days, it was also revealed that a fund to be used to cover allegations of sexual abuse had been made available by the organisation.
In addition to the many sponsors slamming the door, Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, felt on Thursday that Hockey Canada had a lot to do to regain the public’s trust.
“I think it’s hard right now for everybody in Canada to have confidence in anybody in Hockey Canada,” Trudeau said Thursday at a news conference in Nova Scotia. What we are learning is absolutely unacceptable. That is why we have frozen funding for Hockey Canada for several days.
“Is it strategic because it would have come out somewhere? I think so… But at least they did it right away, to present this case and not cover it up, as was the case with the last situation, said Isabelle Charest, minister delegate for education and minister responsible for women’s status. I hope this is a step in the right direction.
“It must be transparent, the culture must change, and they must [Hockey Canada] take steps to make it happen.”
“Last night, Hockey Canada was made aware of allegations of a gang sexual assault that allegedly occurred in 2003 involving members of the 2002-03 National Junior Team. The organization was contacted by Rick Westhead of TSN/CTV National News, who reported disturbing revelations about the alleged affair Westhead told Hockey Canada that he spoke to several witnesses who gave him explicit descriptions of the assault following an interview with Conservative MP John Nater, who has the same or similar information.
The information in Mr. Westhead’s email is deeply troubling; Hockey Canada immediately called the Halifax Regional Police Service, as Halifax was co-hosting the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship, and also notified Sport Canada of the information they had received. We urged Mr Westhead to contact the police immediately and invite his sources to do the same. We also encourage MP Nater to contact the authorities to provide them with any information he or his office has received regarding these gang sexual assault allegations.
Hockey Canada is committed to ending the culture of silence that plagues hockey. Therefore, we are publicly asking anyone with information about this case to contact law enforcement. We want to be transparent about how we learned about these allegations of abuse and what steps we are taking to respond to them.
Two weeks before they received Mr. Westhead’s email, Hockey Canada staff learned of a rumor that “something bad happened at the 2003 World Juniors,” but no further information. We immediately forwarded this information to Sport Canada. To try to find out more, Hockey Canada has retained the services of an independent investigator. He had been unable to find out more when we received Mr. Westhead’s email.
We believe that the police authorities must investigate what happened in 2003 and call on them to open an investigation into this disturbing situation. Hockey Canada will cooperate with the authorities in any way possible. We again encourage anyone with credible information about these allegations to contact Halifax law enforcement immediately.
Hockey Canada wants to hear from anyone who feels or has felt abused, sexually abused, harassed or abused by anyone associated with the organization. You can contact the Canadian Sports Helpline, a free, anonymous, confidential and independent service offered in both official languages, at 1-888-837-7678 or email@example.com. We also encourage anyone who may need assistance to contact one of the many victim resources available across Canada. A list of these resources is available on the Canadian Resource Center for Victims of Crime website at crcvc.ca/en.”