Hockey Canada says it must “do more” to build a safer culture in the sport.
What that looks like remains to be seen.
The national organization released a brief statement Thursday following the federal government’s move 24 hours earlier to freeze public funding in response to its handling of an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement.
Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge said Wednesday that Hockey Canada would only have its taxpayer money restored once officials produced an incomplete report by a third-party law firm hired to investigate the incident four years ago allegedly involving eight players at a gala function in London, Ont.
St-Onge added Hockey Canada must also become a signatory to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, a new government agency with the power to independently investigate abuse complaints and levy sanctions.
“Hockey Canada is deeply committed and actively working to foster a culture in our sport where everyone involved feels safe, and of which all Canadians can feel proud,” spokeswoman Esther Madziya said in a statement that also acknowledged the minister’s funding conditions.
“We recognize that as leaders we need to do more — and we are committed to doing just that. In the days and months ahead Canadians can expect to hear more about our work in this area.”
Hockey Canada president Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Renney were grilled by legislators on Parliament Hill earlier this week during a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting that looked into the organization’s handling of the 2018 incident.
“We were all expecting answers to all the questions, the many questions, that we have regarding how they handled the whole situation when they testified,” St-Onge told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday. “Unfortunately, we did not receive many answers.”
Hockey Canada quietly settled the lawsuit last month after a woman claimed she was assaulted by members of the country’s 2018 gold-medal winning world junior hockey team at a gala and golf function.
The woman, now 24, was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the unnamed players.
Details of the settlement have not been made public, but…