Timeline: Hockey Canada’s handling of 2018 sexual assault allegation

June 2018 – Hockey Canada says it has notified Sport Canada of the alleged incident.

February 2019 – According to Hockey Canada, London Police have informed the federation that its criminal investigation has been closed. According to Hockey Canada, the woman declined to speak to authorities or her own investigators.

September 2020 – Hockey Canada says it has closed its investigation.

April 2022 – The woman files a lawsuit seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the eight unnamed players.

May 2022 – Hockey Canada settles lawsuit involving woman out of court for an undisclosed amount.

May 2022 – Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney calls Sports Secretary Pascale St-Onge, who has Hockey Canada on her file, to let her know TSN will be covering the story in the coming days. St-Onge says the conversation is the first time she’s heard of the alleged incident or settlement.

May 26, 2022 – TSN reports the details of the alleged attack and settlement.

June 2, 2022 – St-Onge orders a forensic review of Hockey Canada to ensure no public funds were used in the settlement.

June 20, 2022 — Renney and Hockey Canada President Scott Smith are grilled by MPs about the organization’s response to the situation during a meeting of the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee. Smith and Renney testify that the 19 players present in London were “strongly encouraged” to speak to third-party investigators but were not required to do so. Hockey Canada adds that it does not know the identities of the eight players in question. Smith testifies that Hockey Canada has reported three sexual assault complaints in recent years, including the London incident, but will not discuss the other two before the committee.

June 22, 2022 – St-Onge announces a freeze on federal funding for Hockey Canada until the organization discloses recommendations from the outside legal firm and becomes a signatory to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, a new government agency with the power to investigate abuse complaints and issue sanctions.

June 22, 2002 – The House of Commons unanimously approves a motion by the Bloc Québécois to conduct an independent inquiry into how Hockey Canada has dealt with the allegations.

June 28, 2022 – Scotiabank announces it is suspending sponsorship of Hockey Canada until the financial institution is satisfied that the right steps are being taken to improve the culture within the sport. Retail giant Canadian Tire and telecoms firm Telus are following suit later in the day, withdrawing support from the pandemic-delayed World Junior Ice Hockey Championships in August.

June 29, 2022 – Tim Hortons and Imperial Oil, under their Esso brand, join a growing list of companies attracting sponsorship money.

June 30, 2022 – NHL defenseman Victor Mete, a member of the 2018 World Junior Team, says he was not involved in the alleged attack, adding in a social media post that he was with his family at the time was on vacation. Mete says he is “deeply disturbed by reports of this incident” and will cooperate fully with investigators if requested.

June 30, 2022 – Renney is retiring as CEO of Hockey Canada after announcing a succession plan in April, which Smith will take over on July 1.

July 1, 2022 – Smith takes over as CEO of Hockey Canada. He also remains president of the association.

July 14, 2022 — Hockey Canada says in an open letter to Canadians it is reopening an investigation into the alleged 2018 third-party attack. The sport’s national governing body adds that participation will be mandatory for the players concerned and that anyone refusing to do so will be banned from all activities and programmes. Hockey Canada now requires players, coaches, team members and volunteers associated with its high-performance program to complete mandatory sexual violence and consent training. It will also conduct a third-party review of the organization’s governance and commits to becoming a full signatory of the Office of the Integrity Officer. Hockey Canada adds that it will also create an “independent and confidential grievance mechanism” to provide tools and support for victims and survivors to come forward.

July 18, 2022 – The Canadian press is the first to report that Hockey Canada has maintained a fund that draws from modest Hockey membership dues to pay uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims. The detail comes in a July 2021 affidavit sworn by Glen McCurdie, then vice president of insurance and risk management for Hockey Canada, as part of an injured player lawsuit in Ontario.

July 19, 2022 – Hockey Canada confirmed the existence of the “National Equity Fund” in a statement, adding that it covers a “broad range of expenses related to safety, wellness and equity initiatives” across the organization. “The fund will also be used to pay the organization’s insurance premiums and to cover all claims not otherwise covered by insurance policies, including those related to personal injury, harassment and sexual misconduct,” the statement said. According to Hockey Canada, the fund “was established in a manner consistent with reserve funds maintained by other major national organizations.”

July 19, 2022 – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau criticizes Hockey Canada’s leadership over the “National Equity Fund” used to settle sex abuse complaints. “I think right now it’s difficult for someone in Canada to trust anyone at Hockey Canada,” Trudeau told reporters in Bowen Island, BC. “What we are learning…is absolutely unacceptable.”

July 19, 2022 – St. Louis Blues forward Robert Thomas, a member of the 2018 World Junior Team, joins a growing list of players from the roster to deny involvement in the alleged attack.

July 20, 2022 — Hockey Canada says it will no longer use its National Equity Fund to resolve sexual assault claims.

July 20, 2022 – Police in London are ordering an internal review of their 2018 investigation into the alleged sexual assault. Chief Steve Williams says in a statement his department’s review will determine if “additional investigative opportunities exist.” He adds that the original investigation, which ended without charges, was “lengthy and detailed.”

July 21, 2022 — Trudeau says there needs to be “real reckoning” at Hockey Canada. Speaking to reporters in Elmsdale, NS, Trudeau added that the association “must do a lot” to win back Canadians’ trust.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on July 21, 2022.

The Canadian Press

Leave a Comment