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No government funds used to settle Hockey Canada sexual assault lawsuit: CEO – CBC News

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A Hockey Canada executive has told a House of Commons committee under oath that the organization did not use any government money to settle a lawsuit with an alleged victim of sexual assault.

CBC News reported Monday that financial records show Hockey Canada received $14 million in federal government support in 2020 and 2021, including $3.4 million in emergency COVID-19 subsidies.

But in testimony before the House of Commons standing committee on Canadian Heritage on Monday, Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney said none of that money was used to settle a $3.55 million lawsuit filed in April by a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by eight former Canadian Hockey League (CHL) players following a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, Ont. in June 2018.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

“I can assure that no government funds were used in this settlement,” Renney said in his opening statement to the committee.

The terms of the settlement, and the identity of the parties to the lawsuit, are not known.

Earlier this month, Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge ordered a financial audit of the out-of-court settlement, saying the move was meant to ensure taxpayer money wasn’t used to settle the case.

Renney said the organization would cooperate fully with the audit.

Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge ordered an audit of the settlement. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

When questioned by the committee, Hockey Canada chief operating officer Scott Smith said the organization liquidated some of its investments to pay the settlement. Government funding is kept in a separate account, Smith testified.

Renney said the organization moved to settle the matter quickly because it felt it had a moral obligation to do so.

He said that although Hockey Canada’s independent investigation into the matter was inconclusive, the alleged incident was “unacceptable and incompatible with Hockey Canada’s values and expectations, and it clearly caused harm.”

He added that the organization is hoping to address behavioural issues through changes to its code of conduct and improved education programs.

Renney is set to retire from his position as CEO at the end of this month. He testified that his decision to step aside is not related to the alleged events or the settlement.

Investigations failed to identify the players

Renney said Hockey Canada learned of the reported incident a day after it allegedly occurred, and that organization staff informed London, Ont. police.

Shortly after, he said, Hockey Canada hired a third-party investigator.

But on Monday, Smith said under questioning that neither investigation is active — and that the investigations failed to identify the eight players.

“We were not able to confirm the identity of the accused,” Smith said.

Hockey Canada President and COO Scott Smith said neither a third party investigation nor the London Police Service in its criminal investigation were able to determine the identities of the eight players. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

He said Hockey Canada communicated with the unidentified players through a representative and that the independent investigation commissioned by Hockey Canada ended following the settlement.

The executives testified that while Hockey Canada encouraged all players at the event to participate in the third party investigation, there was little uptake.

Renney and Smith gave conflicting and unclear testimony about how many players did participate.

Renney said that if he had to guess, he’d say “four to six” players participated. Smith contended that the number was higher but did not give a figure.

Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said he feels there was a lack of effort on Hockey Canada’s part to identify the players.

“The fact that they haven’t been identified sort of shocks me,” Housefather told the committee.

The plaintiff said in her statement of claim that the eight players — currently identified as John Does one through eight — were members of Canada’s national junior team.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is investigating to determine whether any of the eight are playing in the league.

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh expressed a concern that the players could end up coaching hockey at some point in the future.

He also questioned why the sequence of events wasn’t made public for four years.

“Who made that decision to keep this quiet?” Waugh asked.

Smith replied that Hockey Canada was waiting for the conclusion of the two investigations.

“We did the work that we needed to do and we were prepared to respond once the investigation at the criminal level, or once the investigation by our third party, was complete, but unfortunately neither one of those could be completed,” Smith told the committee.

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2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft complete selection order – NHL.com

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NEW YORK — The National Hockey League announced today the order of selection for the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft, July 7-8 at Bell Centre in Montreal.

The host Montreal Canadiens own the first overall selection and a League-high 14 overall; the most picks made by a club in one year since the introduction of the 7-round draft in 2005 is 13 (NY Islanders in 2006 and 2008, Florida in 2010 and Carolina in 2021).

The first round of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft will be broadcast on Thursday, July 7, at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN, ESPN+ in the U.S. and Sportsnet, TVA Sports in Canada. Rounds 2-7 will air on NHL Network, ESPN+ in the U.S. and on Sportsnet, TVA Sports in Canada on Friday, July 8 at 11 a.m. ET.

 
Round 1
1. Montreal
2. New Jersey
3. Arizona
4. Seattle
5. Philadelphia
6. Columbus (from CHI)
7. Ottawa
8. Detroit
9. Buffalo
10. Anaheim
11. San Jose
12. Columbus
13. NY Islanders
14. Winnipeg
15. Vancouver
16. Buffalo (from VGK)
17. Nashville
18. Dallas
19. Minnesota (from LAK)
20. Washington
21. Pittsburgh
22. Anaheim (from BOS)
23. St. Louis
24. Minnesota
25. Toronto
26. Montreal (from CGY)
27. Arizona (from CAR via MTL)
28. Buffalo (from FLA)
29. Edmonton
30. Winnipeg (from NYR)
31. Tampa Bay
32. Arizona (from COL)
 
Round 2
33. Montreal
34. Arizona
35. Seattle
36. Arizona (from PHI)
37. New Jersey
38. Chicago
39. Ottawa
40. Detroit
41. Buffalo
42. Anaheim
43. Arizona (from SJS)
44. Columbus
45. Arizona (from NYI)
46. Washington (from WPG)
47. Minnesota (from VAN via ARI)
48. Vegas
49. Seattle (from NSH)
50. Dallas
51. Los Angeles
52. Detroit (from WSH)
53. Anaheim (from PIT)
54. Boston
55. Winnipeg (from STL via NYR)
56. Minnesota *
57. Chicago (from MIN)
58. Seattle (from TOR)
59. Calgary
60. Carolina
61. Seattle (from FLA via CGY)
62. Montreal (from EDM)
63. NY Rangers
64. Ottawa (from TBL)
65. NY Islanders (from COL)

* Pick 56 – Compensatory pick (MIN did not sign 2018 1st-round pick Filip Johansson)
 
Round 3
66. Montreal
67. Arizona
68. Seattle
69. Philadelphia
70. New Jersey
71. Carolina (from CHI)
72. Ottawa
73. Detroit
74. Buffalo
75. Montreal (from ANA)
76. San Jose
77. Winnipeg (from CBJ)
78. NY Islanders
79. Toronto (from WPG via VAN)
80. Vancouver
81. Chicago (from VGK)
82. Nashville
83. Dallas
84. Nashville (from LAK)
85. Washington
86. Los Angeles (from PIT)
87. Ottawa (from BOS)
88. St. Louis
89. Minnesota
90. Chicago (from TOR via CGY)
91. Boston (from CGY)
92. Montreal (from CAR)
93. Florida
94. Chicago (from EDM)
95. Vegas (from NYR)
96. Columbus (from TBL)
97. Colorado
 
Round 4
98. Montreal
99. Winnipeg (from ARI)
100. Seattle
101. Philadelphia
102. New Jersey
103. Tampa Bay (from CHI)
104. Ottawa
105. Detroit
106. Buffalo
107. Anaheim
108. San Jose
109. Columbus
110. New Jersey (from NYI)
111. NY Rangers (from WPG via VGK)
112. Vancouver
113. Detroit (from VGK)
114. Nashville
115. Dallas
116. Los Angeles
117. Seattle (from WSH)
118. Pittsburgh
119. Boston
120. St. Louis
121. Minnesota
122. Columbus (from TOR)
123. Seattle (from CGY)
124. Carolina
125. Florida
126. New Jersey (from EDM)
127. Montreal (from NYR via FLA)
128. Montreal (from TBL)
129. Detroit (from COL)

Round 5
130. Montreal
131. Arizona
132. Seattle
133. Philadelphia
134. Buffalo (from NJD)
135. Vegas (from CHI)
136. Ottawa
137. Detroit
138. San Jose (from BUF via VGK)
139. Anaheim
140. San Jose
141. New Jersey (from CBJ)
142. NY Islanders
143. Ottawa (from WPG)
144. Vancouver
145. Vegas
146. Nashville
147. Dallas
148. Los Angeles
149. Washington
150. Pittsburgh
151. Ottawa (from BOS)
152. St. Louis
153. Minnesota
154. Anaheim (from TOR)
155. Calgary
156. Carolina
157. Florida
158. Edmonton
159. NY Rangers
160. Tampa Bay
161. Colorado
 
Round 6
162. Montreal
163. Arizona
164. Seattle
165. Philadelphia
166. New Jersey
167. Chicago
168. Ottawa
169. Tampa Bay (from DET)
170. Buffalo
171. Carolina (from ANA)
172. San Jose
173. Chicago (from CBJ)
174. NY Islanders
175. Winnipeg
176. Vancouver
177. Vegas
178. Anaheim (from NSH)
179. Dallas
180. Los Angeles
181. Washington
182. Pittsburgh
183. Boston
184. St. Louis
185. Minnesota
186. Florida (from TOR via CBJ)
187. Buffalo (from CGY via FLA)
188. Carolina
189. Florida
190. Edmonton
191. NY Rangers
192. Tampa Bay
193. Colorado

Round 7
194. Montreal
195. San Jose (from ARI)
196. Seattle
197. Philadelphia
198. New Jersey
199. Chicago
200. Boston (from OTT)
201. Detroit
202. Buffalo
203. Columbus (from ANA)
204. San Jose
205. Carolina (from CBJ)
206. Ottawa (from NYI)
207. Winnipeg
208. Vancouver
209. Vegas
210. Nashville
211. Buffalo (from DAL)
212. Detroit (from LAK)
213. Washington
214. Pittsburgh
215. Boston
216. Montreal (from STL via PHI and ARI)
217. San Jose (from MIN)
218. Toronto
219. Calgary
220. Carolina
221. Florida
222. Edmonton
223. Tampa Bay (from NYR)
224. Tampa Bay
225. Colorado

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Tim Hortons, Esso withdraw for world juniors in another blow for Hockey Canada – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press


Published Wednesday, June 29, 2022 6:58PM EDT

TORONTO – Tim Hortons and Imperial Oil have joined a growing list of corporations to pull sponsorship dollars in the wake of Hockey Canada’s handling of an alleged sexual assault and out-of-court settlement.

Tim Hortons said Wednesday it is “suspending support” for the upcoming men’s world junior hockey championship this summer in Edmonton as the restaurant chain awaits details on how the national federation intends to take “strong and definitive action” following the “deeply concerning allegations.”

Hockey Canada has communicated that it is committed to changing the culture of hockey to make it safer and more inclusive for all, on and off the ice,” Tim Hortons said in the statement. “We have expressed strongly that we believe Canadians are urgently seeking concrete details from Hockey Canada about how it intends to do so.

“We will re-evaluate our sponsorship agreement once we have all the information we need to consider our options.”

Imperial Oil, which is the head sponsor of the Canadian national women’s under-18 hockey club championship under its Esso brand, also said it is withdrawing support from the world junior championship while continuing to sponsor youth and women’s programs.

The energy company took a more definitive step Wednesday, a day after releasing a statement saying it was “concerned by the recent allegations.”

“Imperial will not be supporting the upcoming 2022 men’s world junior championship with the Esso brand,” the company said Wednesday. “This matter is deeply concerning, and we have communicated our expectations to Hockey Canada that concrete steps must be taken to address safety issues and ensure swift culture change.”

The moves come after Scotiabank, Canadian Tire and Telus all paused Hockey Canada sponsorships Tuesday until the companies are confident the right steps are being taken to improve the sport’s culture.

The federal government froze Hockey Canada’s public funding last week.

Hockey Canada quietly settled a lawsuit last month after a woman, now 24, claimed she was assaulted by members of the country’s 2018 gold-medal winning world junior hockey team at a gala and golf function four years ago in London, Ont.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Hockey Canada executives were grilled by legislators on Parliament Hill last week during a Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage meeting looking into the matter.

Scotiabank president and CEO Brian J. Porter said in an open letter Tuesday that marketing and events at the world juniors will be cancelled.

He said the investments would be redirected into other programs, including one that aims to help eliminate financial barriers for young people in the game, and the women’s world championship.

Canadian Tire said in its statement the company is “deeply disappointed in Hockey Canada’s lack of transparency and accountability around the assault allegations.” In addition to withdrawing support from the world juniors, Canadian Tire said it is “re-evaluating its relationship with Hockey Canada.”

Telus, meanwhile, said it’s redirecting sponsorship money to Canadian organizations that support women affected by sexual violence. The telecommunications giant added it would continue to support women’s events and youth programs.

Business development and partnerships have previously made up 43 per cent of Hockey Canada’s coffers, according to the organization’s most recent numbers, ahead of funding agencies (14 per cent), insurance premiums (13 per cent), interest revenue (10 per cent) and the taxpayer funds (six per cent).

Hockey Canada said last week it needs to “do more” to build a safer culture following a tumultuous few days that included president Scott Smith and outgoing CEO Tom Renney getting called to the floor by parliamentarians.

“Unfortunately, we did not receive many answers,” Pascale St-Onge, the federal government’s minister of sport, told reporters in Ottawa last Wednesday.

She said at the time Hockey Canada would only have its public money restored once officials produced an incomplete report from a third-party law firm hired to investigate the 2018 incident that allegedly involved eight players.

St-Onge added Hockey Canada must also become a signatory to the Office of the Integrity Commissioner, a new government agency with the power to independently investigate abuse complaints and levy sanctions.

The woman who made the assault allegation was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and the unnamed players.

Details of the settlement have not been publicized, but Smith testified to the committee Hockey Canada came up with the funds and paid the entire sum, adding no government money was used.

St-Onge has ordered an audit to make sure that’s the case.

The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage is set to meet July 26 and 27 to hear from more witnesses. It has also requested a redacted copy of the non-disclosure agreement related to the financial settlement along with a long list of Hockey Canada communications.

St-Onge has said she only learned of the situation on call with Renney days before TSN broke the story last month. Hockey Canada said it informed Sport Canada of the situation in June 2018.

The House of Commons, meanwhile, has unanimously approved a Bloc Quebecois motion to pursue an independent investigation that will look into how Hockey Canada dealt with the allegations.

The organization hired Toronto law firm Henein Hutchison LLP to conduct its investigation, but Smith and Renney told MPs that while players present at the London event were “strongly encouraged” to participate, it was not mandated.

Smith said 12 or 13 of the 19 players from the world junior team at the gala were interviewed by investigators.

Hockey Canada has said repeatedly the woman declined to speak with both police and its third-party law firm.

Smith and Renney reiterated to the committee the woman also chose not to name the players. They added Hockey Canada still does not know the identities of the eight players in question.

The independent investigation ended in September 2020, but Renney testified the report is incomplete and shouldn’t be released despite the fact in contained recommendations.

Smith testified last week on Parliament Hill that Hockey Canada has reported three sexual assault complaints in recent years, including the London incident, but declined to discuss the other two in front of the committee.

The NHL, which has said it also only recently learned of the allegations, is conducting its own investigation because some of the players in question are now in the league.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2022.

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Sea Dogs win Memorial Cup, defeating Bulldogs in the Final – Sportsnet.ca

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SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The Saint John Sea Dogs turned a devastating playoff loss into a Memorial Cup championship, thanks to renewed focus, 40 days of sweat and a university coach who pushed all the right buttons.

Considered a long shot at the beginning of the Canadian Hockey League championship due to a first-round loss in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs, the Memorial Cup host Sea Dogs downed the Hamilton Bulldogs 6-3 in Wednesday’s final.

Saint John scored twice in the first six minutes of both the first and second periods and rode the emotion of a sellout crowd to win the championship for the second time in its 17-year history.

It was another national title for Gardiner MacDougall, a seven-time University Cup champion with the University of New Brunswick, who replaced Gordie Dwyer as head coach on May 22 and was credited for the revamped enthusiasm within the team that went 47-17-1-3 in the regular season before a stunning playoff loss to the Rimouski Oceanic in May.

“It was just a complete team effort,” said MacDougall. “The players are most important. They really bought in and they were all so receptive. This is as hard as I have ever worked a team.”

Cam MacDonald had a goal and an assist for the champions, while Josh Lawrence, Peter Reynolds and William Dufour — the tournament’s most valuable player — had one of each. Captain Vincent Sevigny rounded out the scoring for Saint John. 

“It makes it more special because everyone thought we were the underdogs, not the Sea Dogs,” said Scott McCain, who’s owned the team since 2005. “You know what? We proved we deserved to be here. We were the best team in the round robin and we won this game decisively today.”

Anaheim Ducks prospect Mason McTavish, with two goals, and Jan Mysak answered for the Bulldogs, who advanced to the final with a 4-3 overtime over Shawinigan in Monday’s semifinal.

Saint John goaltender Nikolas Hurtubise, acquired by the Sea Dogs at the QMJHL trade deadline, posted his third victory of the tournament with 25 saves.

“We have worked so hard and I am so, so proud,” said Hurtubise. “We knew that we worked too hard in the past month to not win it. We earned it.”

Hamilton’s Marco Costantini stopped 21 of 26 shots in the loss.

The Sea Dogs also won the Memorial Cup in 2011. Their win on Wednesday marks the sixth time a QMJHL team has won the Memorial Cup in the last 10 tournaments.

The 2020 and 2021 Memorial Cup events were cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hamilton was making its second Memorial Cup appearance after advancing to the 2018 semifinals where they fell to the Regina Pats.

The Sea Dogs defeated the Bulldogs 5-3 in the opening game of the tournament and used the same script Wednesday, scoring early.

Sevigny accepted a feed from Toronto Maple Leafs prospect William Villeneuve and his blast hit the stick of Hamilton’s Arber Xhekaj and whipped past Costantini 2:35 into the game.

“It is amazing,” Sevigny said. “It was a lot of hard work and the work paid off. To have this is the best day of our lives.”

Just over three minutes later, Villeneuve made another slick move on the right side boards and hit MacDonald in the slot. He made no mistake when he wristed a quick shot to beat Costantini at the 5:47 mark.

McTavish picked up his fifth of the tournament when he redirected a Nathan Staios shot past Hurtubise at 7:45 to calm the crowd and give Hamilton a much needed injection of offence.

Bezeau — a forward from Rothesay, N.B., who started attending Sea Dogs games at age five — patiently held the puck on a rush down the right side before connecting on a wrist shot 4:41 into the second.

Dufour, who led the tournament with seven goals, ripped a feed from Ryan Francis 5:15 into the period to give the Sea Dogs a 4-1 lead.

Hamilton allowed several other golden chances but came within two goals when Mysak had a Gavin White shot glance off him and past Hurtubise with nine seconds left in the period.

Lawrence put the Sea Dogs on the brink of the title with a sharp shot to the top corner on a feed from Dufour on a power play 6:32 into the third.

McTavish added his second of the night with 4:57 left on the game clock.

Reynolds fired a puck into an empty to seal the win at 18:43.

“The message to the boys was they’re a champion of champions,” said Hamilton coach Jay McKee. “What made the difference is (Saint John) capitalized on their big chances.”

Saint John earned the bye to the final with two wins and an overtime loss to the Western Hockey League’s Edmonton Oil Kings in preliminary action.

The Bulldogs won the Ontario Hockey League championship to advance to the Memorial Cup but dropped their first two games of the preliminary round to set up a series of do-or-die contests, starting with a 4-2 victory against the Oil Kings.

In a thrilling semifinal on Monday, Mysak scored 10:08 into overtime to lift Hamilton past the Shawinigan Cataractes 4-3.

Despite Wednesday’s loss, the Bulldogs earned their OHL championship and are proud of the run at the Memorial Cup, said Staios, the CHL’s defenceman of the year. 

“It took two months of war to get to it,” he said. “We beat every championship team here. We beat the WHL, we beat the QMJHL, so (it) stings but you know, we’re proud of ourselves. We’re going to keep our heads high.”

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