(Ottawa) Deploring the “speculative” coverage of allegations of collective violation against eight former players of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), the former chief executive of Hockey Canada swears that we never wanted to “hide” the alleged assault.
Posted at 4:29 p.m.
In his opening remarks to the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee on Monday, outgoing Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney said the organization did not seek to “sweep the matter under the rug.”
He was accompanied by Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, Dave Andrews, president of the Hockey Canada Foundation, and a lawyer, Andrew Winton. However, the latter did not have the right to speak to elected officials during this committee hearing.
On April 20, a young woman filed a lawsuit for 3.55 million, including 2 million in past and future pecuniary damages and 1 million in punitive damages, against eight former players of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), against the league itself and against Hockey Canada.
However, the organization was made aware very quickly of the alleged facts, which date back to the night of June 18 to 19, as reported The Press. This was confirmed by Tom Renney to the elected members of the committee, saying he was informed of the incident on June 19, 2018.
The gang rape allegedly took place in London, Ont., hours after a gala hosted by Hockey Canada on the sidelines of its foundation’s annual golf tournament.
The alleged victim, now 24, accuses the junior-aged players, some of whom won World Junior Championship gold with the Canadian squad, of assaulting her in a hotel room in the early hours of the morning .
TSN reporter Rick Westhead was the first to report the case, citing the 18-page lawsuit filed in Ontario Superior Court. The document, which The Press has since obtained, identifies neither the young woman nor her attackers. These are renamed “John Doe” and numbered from 1 to 8.
The Minister of Sports, Pascale St-Onge, will appear before the committee at the end of the afternoon.
In early June, she asked Hockey Canada, an organization that receives funding from the federal government, to submit a financial audit to her to determine whether the organization used taxpayers’ money to make an out-of-court settlement with the victim.
“I want to know if taxpayers’ money was used to cover up this story of gang rape,” she explained when announcing the opening of this investigation.
The Commons committee was supposed to hear on Monday the former senior vice-president of insurance and risk management within the federation, Glen McCurdie, but the latter withdrew for personal reasons.
The Bloc Québécois, the party behind these hearings, has been told that the committee could send them an invitation.
With Simon-Olivier Lorange, Guillaume Lefrançois and Joël-Denis Bellavance, The Press