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Canada's top women hockey players say there's much to do to clean up toxic behaviour – CBC Sports



Players on Canada’s senior women’s hockey teams are demanding a “thorough and transparent investigation” into recent allegations of sexual assault involving Hockey Canada teams, and say the organization has a lot to do to address “toxic behaviour” in the sport.

The players from Canada’s most recent Olympic and world championship teams posted an open letter to Hockey Canada’s executives and board of governors Monday on the eve of a second round of parliamentary hearings into the organization’s handling of sexual assault complaints.

  • Have you experienced a toxic hockey culture? What do you think can be done to change it? Send an email at We are listening.

“We join all Canadians in demanding a thorough and transparent investigation of the incidents in question, as well as the structure, governance and environment that exists within [Hockey Canada],” the letter read.


“Once the whole truth is out, Hockey Canada and its elected board must ensure that all steps are taken and appropriate measures are put in place to ensure that this kind of behaviour is never again accepted, and never repeated.”

The letter was published after Hockey Canada released on Monday a plan to combat the “toxic” culture in its sport.

The plan includes the implementation by the end of September of a centralized tracking and reporting system for abuse complaints. It said the results will be published annually to “hold Hockey Canada accountable.”

The organization will publish an annual social responsibility report, which will include information on complaints received at both the national team and subnational levels and a scorecard based on “key performance indicators.” Hockey Canada said it was in the process of identifying the measures to be included in the scorecard.

Hockey Canada did not say what data on the complaints will be made public in the report, but historical allegations of sexual assault will not be included.

Hockey Canada also says it will implement enhanced screening for high-performance players — “considering their behaviour and track record outside of their time with Hockey Canada and outside of the rink.” It will mandate that breaching the organization’s code of conduct or refusing to participate in an investigation could result in a lifetime ban.

WATCH | Hockey Canada ending use of reserve fund to settle sexual assault claims:

Hockey Canada says it will no longer use equity fund to settle sexual assault claims

4 days ago

Duration 4:41

Hockey Canada said in a statement Wednesday its National Equity Fund will no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims.

The women, in their letter, said they were “encouraged” by the action plan, but added it was only “a step toward addressing toxic behaviours.”

“There is much more work and action needed to fully address the underlying issues in order to ensure a new Hockey Canada emerges from this crisis.”

The measures outlined Monday are in addition to those announced by Hockey Canada in a July 14 open letter, which came amid intense criticism for the organization’s handling of a sexual assault allegation involving eight players, and settlement of an ensuing lawsuit, following a 2018 gala in London, Ont. A second sexual assault allegation involving the Canadian team participating at the 2003 junior championship in Halifax surfaced on Friday.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

An independent review of Hockey Canada’s governance and a commitment to become a full signatory to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, a new government agency with the power to independently investigate abuse complaints and levy sanctions, were announced in the open letter.

Hockey Canada also said previously it would create an independent mechanism to handle complaints at the regional, provincial and local levels, which are not covered by the OSIC.

Julie Macfarlane, a law professor and Member of the Order of Canada who previously worked as an employment mediator, told CBC Sports in an email that Hockey Canada’s plan lacks transparency.

“There is no mention of any qualifications for the [‘independent third party’] or the mediator. Often the default is to a lawyer. That may be fine if they have been trained to be a mediator or an investigator — we have no national accreditation for these roles so the training is a bit hit and miss — but there are some reputable programs.

“There is no mention either of whether the ITP/mediator will be trauma-informed and trained to work with victims of abuse,” Macfarlane wrote.

Additionally, she said the plan skips information on how outcomes will be communicated to victims and noted the use of non-disclosure agreements as defaults as a “major problem.”

“Effectively this means that the outcomes will be just as secret as they have always been. There needs to be a clear commitment to offering victims confidentiality but not requiring them to sign an NDA, which makes their privacy depend on protecting the perpetrators,” Macfarlane wrote.

WATCH | Trudeau calls report of legal fund for abuse claims ‘unacceptable’:

Trudeau responds to latest allegations against Hockey Canada

6 days ago

Duration 0:57

Responding to a report that Hockey Canada had a legal fund to pay off sexual assault victims, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau doubled down on his support for freezing the organization’s funding pending an investigation.

Hockey Canada’s plans to donate to the Kids Help Phone charitable organization in response to the claims left the CEO of the phone line upset over the use of its name without consent.

Kids Help Phone’s CEO Katherine Hay tweeted her disapproval of Hockey Canada’s plans, calling it a “self serving attempt to align with our good” on Friday.

“Do better, Hockey Canada, and apologize,” added Hay in the post.

CBC News confirmed the charitable organization hasn’t received an apology about the unilateral use of the phone line’s name as of Monday night.

Hearing this week

The House of Commons standing committee on Canadian heritage will hear testimony Tuesday and Wednesday. Hockey Canada had its federal funding frozen and multiple corporate partners pause sponsorships after former chief executive Tom Renney and current president and CEO Scott Smith testified about their handling of the 2018 allegation in a parliamentary hearing on June 20.

Smith and Renney testified the 19 players present at the London event were “strongly encouraged” to speak with third-party investigators, but not mandated to do so.

Smith took over from Renney as Hockey Canada CEO on July 1.

Smith and Renney have been subpoenaed to testify Wednesday, along with the heads of the Canadian Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Western Hockey League, as well as Glen McCurdie, Hockey Canada’s former vice-president of insurance and risk management.

WATCH | Is it possible to change Canada’s hockey culture?:

Ottawa Morning10:04Can hockey culture in Canada change?

Brady Leavold is a former CHL player and skated for teams in Saskatchewan and British Columbia and is now a podcast host. Tara Slone is a former co-host of Rogers Hometown Hockey and an advocate of social change. Both say it’s time for the sport to undergo a systemic shift in the sport’s culture that has been ingrained in hockey for decades.

The Canadian Press reported on July 18 that Hockey Canada maintains a fund that draws on minor hockey membership fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims. The detail was included in a July 2021 affidavit sworn by McCurdie as part of a lawsuit launched by an injured player in Ontario.

Hockey Canada has since said the fund will no longer be used to settle sexual assault claims.

The action plan released Monday also includes mandatory chaperones for underage athletes at Hockey Canada events to enforce curfews and ensure no alcohol is consumed. Hockey Canada also said it will no longer host “open bar” events.

The action plan says a review of all existing training programs performed by a third-party organization is underway.

Hockey Canada said an independent board will be appointed by Sept. 15 to ensure its plan is implemented.

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Hab posts video showing frustration with punishment for Bruin – CTV News Montreal



Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman took to social media Friday to vent his frustration with a decision by the NHL’s Department of Player Safety.

“So I’ve gotten a two-game suspension for cross-checking a guy in the back of the helmet. A full-blown intentional cross-check to the face? One game. Hmm,” a bloody-chinned Hoffman says in a video shared online.

Hoffman is referring to the one-game suspension given to Boston Bruins winger A.J. Greer, who cross-checked Hoffman in the face during the first period of the Bruins-Canadiens game Thursday night.


The incident occurred after the players slashed each other’s sticks leading up to a faceoff.

Greer was assessed a major penalty and a game misconduct. Hoffman was able to complete the game sporting a bloodied face and a mask covering the injured area.

In addition to the suspension, Greer will forfeit US$4,121.62 in salary.

The Canadiens lost the game 4-2.

With files from The Canadian Press.

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Senators' playoff push takes huge hit with Chychrun lower-body injury – CBC Sports



Senators defenceman Jakob Chychrun will be sidelined multiple weeks due to a lower-body injury, head coach D.J. Smith told TSN 1200 in Ottawa on Saturday.

Smith also announced forward Ridly Greig will miss the remainder of the regular season due to a sternum injury.

Both players were injured during the Senators’ 7-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday. Chychrun did not participate in practice Friday, and Smith told reporters that the defenceman “tugged something there a little bit, we’ll see how he reacts to treatment here.”


The Senators (35-32-5) have 10 games remaining in the regular season, which ends April 13 at Buffalo. Ottawa is five points out of the second wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference entering play Saturday.

Chychrun, who turns 25 on Friday, has recorded five points in 12 games with the Senators since being acquired from the Arizona Coyotes on March 1. He had seven goals and 28 points in 36 contests this season with the Coyotes.

Chychrun has 62 goals and 175 points in 385 career outings with Arizona and Ottawa since being selected by the Coyotes with the 16th overall pick of the 2016 NHL draft.

Greig, 20, has six points in 16 games this season, his first in the NHL. He was drafted by the Senators with the 28th overall pick in 2020.

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Canadiens Forward Mike Hoffman Calls Out Department Of Safety



Montreal Canadiens forward Mike Hoffman is not a happy camper.

The 33-year-old forward took to Instagram to discuss the recent one-game suspension of Boston Bruins forward A.J. Greer.

Hoffman, freshly decorated with a gnarly battle scar after the ridiculous cross-check by Greer during Thursday night’s matchup between the Canadiens and the Bruins, expressed his concern with the lack of consistency from the NHL’s Department Of Player Safety.

“I’ve gotten a two-game suspension for cross-checking a guy in the back of the helmet,” said a wound-muffled Hoffman. “A full-blown, intentional cross-check to the face? One game. Hmmm.”


Hoffman’s message was clear: the standard has dropped in recent years, especially if we compare the decision made on Friday to the decision made in 2016 when Hoffman was suspended for two games after his cross-check rode up Logan Couture’s back and hit him in the helmet.

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That’s not to say Hoffman did not deserve a suspension. If anything, the ruling at the time was a step toward erring on the side of caution when brain injuries were in play, putting an onus on player safety in a spot that oftentimes forgets about the well-being of its employees.

Greer’s cross-check, on the other hand, was about as blatant as it gets, leaving a trail of blood behind the Canadiens forward as he quickly exited the ice.

There was some tomfoolery prior to the faceoff, perhaps even a little kerfuffle, but there’s no justifying a blatant cross-check which resulted in an injury.

By handing down a one-game suspension, the Department of Player Safety deemed Greer’s attack three times less severe than accidentally spitting on an opponent, which carries a three-game suspension in the NHL.

Hoffman returned to the game in the third period sporting a full birdcage, and though he did not miss significant time, he clearly did not appreciate the lack of safety provided by the NHL’s Department Of Misnomers.


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