Already having to deal with a thorny case concerning a group sexual assault which allegedly took place in 2018, Hockey Canada must now deal with another similar incident which allegedly occurred in 2003.
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Hockey Canada has been made aware of “troublesome revelations” after being contacted by TSN and CTV News reporter Rick Westhead. The latter would have spoken to “multiple witnesses who provided him with explicit descriptions of the attack following an interview with Conservative MP John Nater”, explained the organization, in a statement sent on Friday.
About Nater, he said Friday afternoon, on his Twitter account, that he was contacted by a person who claimed to have information about a sexual assault involving members of the 2002-2003 national junior team.
“I have passed the information the person provided to me to the police in Halifax where this alleged incident took place and encouraged them to contact the police directly,” the MP for the Perth constituency wrote. Wellington, Ont.
The incident in question, a gang assault, allegedly took place in Halifax during the 2003 World Junior Championship. Hockey Canada also said it quickly contacted the authorities of 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 preserve his anonymity for fear of reprisals. The latter would have deleted the video after being pressured by the players concerned to do so. However, he believes that a copy of the video would have been made.
Hockey Canada also said it quickly contacted the authorities of 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 was co-host of the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship, and also advised Sport Canada of the information provided to them,” it said. precise.
As part of this team, former National League player Carlo Colaiacavo, now an analyst for TSN, quickly disassociated 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 whatsoever,” he wrote in a short 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 Championship, but one passage in particular catches the eye and has set the web on fire.
“We were just kids once. The things that we did… we were sexually turned on young men, it says. We were in Halifax and every girl there was eyeing us. What are you doing in that time? We have to take them down one by one. And it wasn’t just stuff with a man and a woman. A few of the players were bringing a few girls home after practices and they were all heading into a room. I have said enough.”
- Listen to lawyer Nada Boumeftah at the microphone of Vincent Dessureault on QUB radio:
An independent investigator
The national body urged Halifax police to investigate and said it wanted to work closely with law enforcement.
The police authorities of the Nova Scotian capital also seem to have quickly seized the ball, since they opened an investigation after receiving a file on this subject, late Thursday evening.
He also requested, even before Rick Westhead’s email, the services of an independent investigator after “having heard of a rumor about ‘something bad having happened at the 2003 World Juniors'”.
Hockey Canada was already targeted from all sides for having reached an amicable agreement with a young woman who says she was raped by eight national team players in June 2018, following a gala of the organization which was held in London, Ontario. In the last few days, it was also revealed that a fund to be used to cover claims of sexual abuse had been provided by the organization.
In addition to the many sponsors who slammed the door, the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, felt Thursday that Hockey Canada had a lot to do to regain the confidence of the population.
“I think it’s difficult right now for everyone in Canada to have confidence in anyone at Hockey Canada,” Trudeau said Thursday at a news conference in Nova Scotia. . What we are learning is absolutely unacceptable. This 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, mentioned Isabelle Charest, Minister Delegate for Education and Minister responsible for the Status of Women. I hope this is a step in the right direction.
“It has to be transparent, the culture has to change and they have to [Hockey Canada] take steps to make it happen.”
“Last night Hockey Canada was made aware of allegations of a gang sexual assault which 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 he spoke to multiple witnesses who provided him with explicit descriptions of the assault following an interview with Conservative MP John Nater, who has the same or similar information.
The information conveyed in Mr. Westhead’s email is deeply troubling; Hockey Canada immediately called the Halifax Regional Police Service, as Halifax was co-host of the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship, and also advised Sport Canada of the information provided to them. We urged Mr. Westhead to contact the police immediately and to invite his sources to do the same. We also urge MP Nater to contact the authorities to convey to them the information that he or his office has received regarding these allegations of group sexual assault.
Hockey Canada is committed to ending the culture of silence that plagues hockey. That is why we publicly implore 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 receiving Mr. Westhead’s email, Hockey Canada staff got wind of a rumor about “something bad happening 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 not been able to find out more when we received Mr. Westhead’s email.
We believe that the police authorities must investigate what happened in 2003 and urge them to open an investigation into this disturbing situation. Hockey Canada will cooperate with the authorities in every way possible. We again urge 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 affiliated with the organization. You can contact the Canadian Sport Helpline, a free, anonymous, confidential and independent service offered in both official languages, at 1-888-837-7678 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We also encourage anyone who may need help 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.”