Sports

Canada Hockey | National team players demand ‘thorough’ investigation

The National Women’s Team players intend to be part of the “necessary process to bring the truth to light” regarding the alleged gang rape case that occurred in 2018 on the sidelines of an event organized by Hockey Canada.

Updated yesterday at 5:36 p.m.

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The Press

The players of the most recent Canadian women’s national teams from the Beijing Olympics and the World Championship have spoken out for the first time on the scandal that has surrounded Hockey Canada for several weeks.

These, including Quebecers Marie-Philip Poulin and Ann-Renée Desbiens, shared a long statement on their social networks on Monday – in English and French – in which they address the executive and the members of the board of directors. administration of the organization.

“The allegations we read and hear about are extremely disturbing and completely unacceptable,” they wrote. […] All the facts related to this appalling situation must and will be revealed. After all, the only way to heal a hurt is to fully admit it. »

The players say they join “all Canadians” in demanding a “thorough and transparent” investigation into the incidents as well as “the structure, governance and environment within the organization”.

“When the full truth is revealed, Hockey Canada and its Board of Directors must ensure that all appropriate measures are put in place so that this type of unacceptable behavior never happens again,” they insist.

A first step

Earlier in the day on Monday, Hockey Canada unveiled its action plan aimed at eliminating “systemic problems” in hockey, strengthening safety and inclusion and combating the “culture of silence”.

The players say they are “encouraged” by said action plan, while specifying that it is “only one step towards the fight against toxic behavior”.

“There is still a lot of work to do and actions to take to fully address the underlying issues to ensure that a new Hockey Canada emerges from this crisis. It is important to have women at the table as this process evolves, and we ask that you include representatives from our group so that we can be informed and involved. »

At the end of June, Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge suspended federal funding for Hockey Canada after the organization’s top executives testified before the Canadian Heritage Committee in Ottawa. A few days later, several major partners of the organization in turn suspended their ties with the organization or reviewed the distribution of their investments.

These funding cuts are described as “deeply concerning” by the players.

“This will certainly have an impact on the essential funding for the training and development of our women’s national teams, which has allowed us to shine on the world hockey stage,” they lament, recalling that the women’s program has won over the years. five gold medals and 11 World Championship titles.

They also claim to have “the intention to monitor this situation closely and to pay great attention to all decisions related to it”.

An action plan to stop toxic behavior

Hockey Canada has unveiled its action plan to address systemic issues in the sport on the eve of the start of a second round of parliamentary hearings into the body’s handling of an alleged sexual assault in 2018.

The plan, which is built around six core elements, aims to tackle toxic behaviors – on and off the ice – that run counter to what Canadians expect from hockey and will fight culture. of the silence that prevails in certain spheres of sport. It includes the implementation of a system for monitoring and reporting complaints of abuse, the results of which are published annually.

Hockey Canada also says it will implement advanced character screening for all high performance programs and require that failure to follow the organization’s code of conduct or refusal to participate in an investigation may result in a ban on life.

The organization is also committed to adopting the Universal Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport (version 6.0) and to obtain signatory status from the Office of the Commissioner for Integrity in Sport (BCIS). ).

To carry out this plan, the organization’s board of directors is working to form a special committee of independent experts to oversee its deployment and guide its implementation. This committee will be named by September 15th.

The Canadian Press

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