A sworn statement filed in an Ontario lawsuit appears to indicate that Hockey Canada held a reserve fund to pay unsecured liabilities, including sexual assault claims.
This information is included in a July 2021 affidavit signed by Glen McCurdie, who was then vice-president of insurance and risk management at Hockey Canada, in connection with a lawsuit brought by an injured player in Ontario.
“Hockey Canada reserves a reserve in a separate account to pay unsecured liabilities as they are cleared,” McCurdie’s written statement reads. He goes on to say that “uninsured liabilities include potential claims for past sexual assaults.”
Hockey Canada did not immediately respond to an email in which The Canadian Press sought comment on the statement.
Sexual assault allegations
The sports federation has been at the center of controversy since last May, coming to light when the existence of an out-of-court settlement linked to an alleged sexual assault case emerged. The events allegedly took place at a gala held in 2018 in London, Ont., and involved eight unnamed players, including members of that year’s junior team. None of these allegations have yet been proven in court.
The organization’s CEO, Scott Smith, and his predecessor, Tom Renney, were questioned by parliamentarians last month during a meeting of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage about the case — and where the funds came from. amicable settlement. Glen McCurdie, who retired in December, did not attend proceedings due to the death of his father, but was called by the committee for an upcoming round of meetings beginning next Tuesday.
Hockey Canada was stripped of its federal funding due to its handling of the case and the settlement; several companies have also suspended their sponsorships.
The organization released a carefully crafted open letter on Thursday containing a number of promises, including a commitment to reopen an independent investigation into the alleged assault.
“We know that our response has been relatively insufficient to the actions of some members of the 2018 National Junior Team, or even to end the culture of toxic behavior within our sport,” Hockey Canada wrote in the three-page document. . “We are sincerely sorry. »
Scott Smith, who succeeded Tom Renney as CEO on 1uh July, confirmed to the Standing Committee on Heritage last month that Hockey Canada has reported three sexual assault complaints in recent years, including the London incident, but would not discuss the other two.
He added that there have been up to two sexual misconduct complaints in each of the past five or six years.
Mr Smith also told the committee that “12 or 13” of the squad’s 19 players were interviewed before the initial and incomplete investigation, which concluded in September 2020.
The alleged victim of the assault was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and Players Anonymous. The lady’s attorney said in an email last week that his client, who did not participate in the initial investigation or speak to police, “will participate in Hockey Canada’s investigation and will not make any media comments at this time”.
Separately, Arizona Coyotes defenseman Conor Timmins, who was part of the 2018 Junior National Team, denied any involvement in the alleged sexual assault. “No one is claiming that I was there or that I was involved. I am not aware of what happened. I cooperated in place with the original Hockey Canada investigation and I continue to do so in any further investigation,” he said. in a statement issued by his agency, Quartexx Hockey.
Victor Mete of the Toronto Maple Leafs previously denied any involvement last month, as did Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche.