Hockey Canada is reopening a third-party investigation into allegations of sexual assault involving eight Canadian Hockey League players, after the organization’s handling of the alleged incident triggered federal committee hearings and the suspension of corporate partnerships.
The national governing body for hockey said in an open letter on Thursday that it will take a number of measures to “end the culture of toxic behaviour” within the sport. Among the actions outlined is the resumption of a probe into allegations that a group of CHL players, including members of the 2018 gold-medal-winning world junior team, sexually assaulted a woman after a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in London, Ont., on June 18, 2018.
The fallout from the allegations has been widespread. Ottawa paused its funding to Hockey Canada as it conducts a financial audit to confirm that taxpayer dollars weren’t used in a settlement related to the alleged incident. The National Hockey League launched its own investigation, since a number of players who attended the 2018 gala may now be in the league.
In Montreal on Thursday, Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge described the measures announced by Hockey Canada as a “good step in the right direction,” but said she is waiting to see action before Ottawa makes any further decisions.
Hockey Canada is facing another round of federal hearings on the matter, slated for July 26 and 27 in Ottawa. In addition to Hockey Canada executives and government officials, the Canadian Heritage committee has said it wants to hear from the president of a liability insurance company and from Henein Hutchison, the law firm conducting the third-party probe.
Hockey Canada has said Henein Hutchison’s initial investigation couldn’t be completed because the alleged victim opted not to speak with the investigator. The woman’s lawyer, Rob Talach, said in an e-mail that his client will participate this time.
On top of reopening the investigation, Hockey Canada announced that it will also: require all high-performance players, coaches, team staff and volunteers to participate in mandatory sexual violence and consent training; conduct a governance review; commit to becoming a signatory to the recently created federal Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner; and create an independent and confidential complaint mechanism.
“We know we are at a crossroads, and that the journey ahead of us is an important one that will define not just the game going forward, but the future of Hockey Canada,” the organization said in its letter.
The allegations were made public in late May, when TSN reported that a settlement had been reached in a $3.55-million lawsuit, which cited eight unnamed players, the CHL and Hockey Canada as defendants. Hockey Canada has said it covered the settlement on behalf of the parties by liquidating a portion of its investments.
According to her statement of claim, the woman, now 24 years old, “engaged in sexual acts” with John Doe No. 1 in his hotel room. Without her consent, the claim reads, John Doe No. 1 then invited seven other players into the room, where they participated in “some or all” of a list of sexual acts.
Hockey Canada has said that the woman made a complaint to the London Police Service, which launched a criminal investigation. The sports organization has said it was notified in February of 2019 that the police service had closed its investigation. No charges were laid.
Anil Kapoor, a lawyer for one of the players, criticized Hockey Canada for its characterization of the allegations in the open letter. “This Hockey Canada letter starts from a presumption of guilt,” he said. “That’s profoundly unfair to the players. We have serious doubts about the fairness of the process.”
At the federal committee hearings last month, Hockey Canada’s outgoing CEO, Tom Renney, told MPs that within hours of learning of the allegations on June 19, 2018, the organization contacted local police and engaged Henein Hutchison to conduct the third-party investigation.
Mr. Renney, who said he informed Hockey Canada’s board in April, 2021, that he would not be extending his contract, said the organization told players it was their choice whether to participate in the probe, but encouraged them to do so. Hockey Canada executives gave conflicting testimony to the committee about the number of players who participated in the probe.
In its open letter, Hockey Canada says it will now require all players to participate in the reopened probe. If they don’t, they’ll be banned from all Hockey Canada activities and programs.
“The investigation, once complete, will be referred to an independent adjudicative panel of current and former judges who will determine the appropriate consequences, which may include a lifetime ban from Hockey Canada activity, on and off the ice,” the letter says.
The NHL declined to say whether the league would force players to participate in its investigation and what consequences they might face if they don’t. “The NHL intends to continue pursuing and conducting our investigation,” league spokesperson Gary Meagher said in an e-mail. “We will not be commenting further until it has been completed.”
In terms of federal funding, Ms. St-Onge has said that Hockey Canada would only see it restored once the organization signed onto the new Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, whose mandate is to confront serious complaints of abuse and maltreatment in sport. She has also said that Hockey Canada must disclose the recommendations made as a result of Henein Hutchison’s initial investigation. (Hockey Canada’s open letter doesn’t include a commitment to releasing any such recommendations.)
Several Hockey Canada partners that have withdrawn or paused their support also reacted to the open letter, including Scotiabank, which described the organization’s statement as a “positive next step,” and Nike, which said it has raised concerns with Hockey Canada and is “deeply disturbed” by the allegations. TSN and RDS, which are airing the world juniors next month, said they “look forward to reviewing the changes the organization will outline in its action plan.”
Conservative MP Kevin Waugh, who sits on the Canadian Heritage committee, said he expects the federal hearings at the end of the month to be “tumultuous.” In advance of the hearings, the committee has requested a redacted copy of the confidentiality agreement related to the settlement, as well as communications between Hockey Canada and teams, players and federal officials.
“Hockey Canada is right that people are angry,” Mr. Waugh said in an interview from Saskatoon, referring to comments made in the open letter. “I’ve heard it on the street here. You’d hear that all over the country.”
With reports from Simon Houpt, Joe Friesen and Colin Freeze
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Garnacho on target as United beats Crystal Palace in League Cup defence
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Seven months after lifting the trophy, Manchester United made a successful start to its defense of the English League Cup on Tuesday by beating Crystal Palace 3-0.
Alejandro Garnacho and Casemiro fired the holders into a 2-0 first-half lead at Old Trafford and Anthony Martial added a third after the break in the third-round match.
It is now back-to-back wins for Erik ten Hag’s team, which has endured a disappointing start to the season.
The dominant performance against an understrength Palace followed Saturday’s narrow victory at Burnley and will give United fans hope the team has turned its form around.
“The mood is always good, but of course when you are not winning at United there is disappointment, and there is frustration, but the togetherness is always there,” Ten Hag said. “We know we are not now in the position where we want to be. So we have to build up, we have to catch up and then you have to go from game to game, working on the process and working on the results. Don’t get too far ahead.”
The League Cup ranks fourth among English soccer’s most important trophies. But Ten Hag still savored last season’s success.
Victory against Newcastle in February’s final at Wembley Stadium ended the club’s six-year wait for a trophy and saw Ten Hag deliver silverware in his first season at the club. He went on to also reach the FA Cup final, only to lose to Manchester City, and also guided United back into the Champions League to mark an impressive campaign.
Things have not gone so well this term, with his team losing four out of five games before beating Burnley 1-0.
This latest victory was far more convincing, even if Palace benched regular starters Marc Guehi, Eberechi Eze and Joachim Anderson and was also without forward Odsonne Edouard.
Ten Hag also made changes with Bruno Fernandes, Marcus Rashford and Rasmus Hojlund on the bench and Christian Eriksen absent.
Mason Mount, however, made his first appearance since Aug. 19 after returning from an injury.
Garnacho fired United ahead in the 21st minute after converting Diogo Dalot’s cutback in the box.
His low shot had too much power for Palace goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, who had only just come on as a substitute for the injured Dean Henderson.
Johnstone was tested again moments later when Dalot blasted an effort from an angle, which the keeper blocked.
He was beaten again, however, in the 27th, this time by Casemiro, who headed in Mount’s corner to double United’s lead.
Martial added a third 10 minutes into the second half when firing across goal after meeting Casemiro’s looping ball to the far post.
United plays Palace again in the Premier League on Saturday and the Londoners showed their threat when twice forcing saves from ‘keeper Andre Onana later in the match. But manager Roy Hodgson did not sound confident about securing a different outcome when the teams next meet.
“We are going to have to become a totally different team in the way we approach the game and the way we play the game,” he said.
Third-division Exeter produced a shock 1-0 win against Luton to knock the Premier League club out of the competition. Luton made 10 changes from the team that picked up its first topflight point of the season against Wolverhampton on Saturday, but the result will still go down as a big upset. Demetri Mitchell scored the winner in the 83rd, but Exeter had to see out the game with 10 men after he was sent off in the 88th.
Wolverhampton was also eliminated after throwing away a two-goal lead to lose 3-2 at second-division Ipswich. Hwang Hee-Chan and Toti Gomes had seemingly put the visitors on course for the next round after goals inside the first 15 minutes. But Omari Hutchinson, Freddie Ladapo and Jack Taylor sealed a comeback win for Ipswich.
Burnley is still waiting for its first win in the league this season, but it is powering on in the cup after a 4-0 win against Salford City, the fourth division club co-owned by Manchester United greats including David Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
Elsewhere, Middlesbrough beat Bradford 2-0 and Port Vale won 2-1 against Sutton United.
Fourth-division Mansfield beat third-division Peterborough 3-1 on penalty kicks after a 2-2 draw in regulation time. Lucas Akins’ penalty to even the score in the 93rd had sent the game to a shootout.
James Robson is at https://twitter.com/jamesalanrobson
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer
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How to Spot a Trustworthy Online Casino in Canada
Spotting a trustworthy online casino isn’t hard once you know what to look for, but until then, you better hold off on signing up or making a deposit. This quick guide on how to find a reputable online casino will cover five different factors you can evaluate to determine whether or not a casino is trustworthy. While you could just use a site like the trusted source WikiHow that lists the best online casinos Canada, it does help to be able to evaluate the trustworthiness of casinos on your own. Likewise, you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet. Casino review sites are a great resource, but it doesn’t hurt to also do a little digging of your own. Without further delay, here’s a quick and easy guide on how to spot a trustworthy online casino.
Checking for Proper Licensing and Regulation
One of the first things you should do when assessing the trustworthiness of the best online casinos Canada is to check for proper licensing and regulation. Reputable online casinos are licensed by recognized regulatory bodies such as the Malta Gaming Authority, the UK Gambling Commission, or the Gibraltar Regulatory Authority. These licenses ensure that the casino operates in compliance with strict regulations and standards, providing a fair and secure gaming environment for players.
Never play at a casino that does not have a license or whose license is unverifiable. The easiest way to verify a license is to head to the licensor’s website and cross-check their registry with the name of the casino you’re looking at. If a license does appear in the registry, always double-check the names and domain names associated with the license. Some scam sites use domains that look similar to real casinos and act as if they are operating under their license. When in doubt, head to the URL listed on the license you find in the registry to be sure that you’re at the right site.
Evaluating the Casino’s Security Measures
Examining the Casino’s Game Selection
Game selection is another important factor to consider when choosing from the best online casinos Canada. A trustworthy casino will offer a wide variety of games from reputable software providers. Look for popular titles from well-known developers such as Microgaming, NetEnt, and Playtech. Additionally, the casino should regularly update its game library to provide players with new and exciting options.
Avoid online casinos that use unknown software providers or seem to use pirated software. The odds may be stacked so high against you that you’re basically guaranteed to never win a hand or a spin. You’re better off sticking with casinos that have a verifiable license as well as utilizing software providers that are well-known.
Verifying the Casino’s Customer Support
Good customer support is essential for a positive online casino experience. A trustworthy casino will have a responsive and knowledgeable support team available to assist you with any queries or concerns. Look for casinos that offer multiple support channels, such as live chat, email, and telephone. Additionally, check for the casino’s operating hours to ensure that support is available when you need it. You should also try and give their customer support a test run. By simply asking their 24/7 Live Chat simple questions about the site, you can get a feel for their response time and overall knowledge. Sites with poor customer service will often take a long time to connect to an agent and be unable to answer even the simplest of queries.
Looking for Fair and Transparent Bonus Terms
Bonuses and promotions are a common feature of online casinos, but it’s important to carefully review the terms and conditions associated with these offers. A trustworthy casino will have fair and transparent bonus terms, clearly outlining the wagering requirements, maximum bet limits, and any other conditions that apply. Avoid casinos that have overly restrictive or confusing bonus terms, as this may indicate a lack of transparency.
In conclusion, when looking for a trustworthy online casino, it’s important to consider factors such as proper licensing and regulation, security measures, game selection, customer support, and bonus terms. By taking the time to evaluate these aspects, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable gaming experience. Remember to always gamble responsibly and set limits for yourself to avoid any potential issues.
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