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Trudeau condemns Hockey Canada over fund meant to handle sexual misconduct claims –



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it’s “hard for anyone” to have faith in Hockey Canada’s leadership after revelations this week about the federation maintaining a fund meant to handle sexual misconduct claims.

Speaking to reporters in B.C. on Tuesday, Trudeau said the fund is “absolutely unacceptable.”

“I think right now it’s hard for anyone in Canada to have faith or trust in anyone at Hockey Canada. What we’re learning today is absolutely unacceptable,” he said.

“When I think about the culture that is apparently permeating the highest orders of that organization, I can understand why so many parents, why so many Canadians who take such pride in our national winter sport are absolutely disgusted by what’s going on,” Trudeau continued. “And certainly as a government, we will continue to be unequivocal in our condemnation of what we’re learning and mostly in our demands that things change significantly.”

The Canadian Press reported on Monday the existence of Hockey Canada’s fund, citing a July 2021 affidavit sworn by former Hockey Canada vice-president of insurance and risk management Glen McCurdie that said it is used to cover “uninsured liabilities include potential claims for historical sexual abuse.”

Support for survivors

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence and is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references can be found here.

The Globe and Mail on Tuesday reported that Hockey Canada built the fund using revenue from minor hockey registration fees. The news intensified the spotlight under which Hockey Canada has operated since news first broke of a civil settlement in May 2022 stemming from allegations made by a woman who said she was sexually assaulted in June 2018 by eight CHL players, including some members of that year’s Canadian world junior team.

When reached for comment, a Hockey Canada spokesperson told Sportsnet the organization “maintains a National Equity Fund, which covers a broad range of expenses related to safety, wellness and equity initiatives across our organization.”

The statements goes on to read:

“This includes, but is not limited to, counselling and treatment for players, concussion research grants to the Canadian Hockey League, criminal record checks of Hockey Canada staff, donations to Kids Help Phone, as well as a range of safety initiatives. The Fund is also used to pay for the organization’s insurance premiums and to cover any claims not otherwise covered by insurance policies, including those related to physical injury, harassment, and sexual misconduct.

“The Fund was established in a manner consistent with reserve funds maintained by other large national organizations. With that in mind, Hockey Canada has recently announced a full governance review, which will help ensure we are upholding the highest standards Canadians expect and that would include the administration of the fund.”

Last week, Hockey Canada released a “Letter to all Canadians” in which it announced it would reopen its previously incomplete investigation into the 2018 allegations, and would also “retain an independent, third-party expert to fully examine our organization and make recommendations to ensure our governance is geared to the requirements of a national organization of our scope and influence.”

Sportsnet confirmed Tuesday that before this separate fund was set up, any sexual assault claim settlements were handled through insurance. A source with knowledge of Hockey Canada said the fund was created under the leadership of former CEO Tom Renney. Renney retired on July 1 and was replaced by Scott Smith, who is president and COO. (According to sources, his retirement was not prompted by the allegations or investigation.)

According to The Globe and Mail, the federation’s fund “has exceeded $15 million in recent years,” and is “used at Hockey Canada’s discretion and can be deployed to write cheques to cover out-of-court settlements for a variety of claims, including allegations of sexual assault, that are deemed uninsurable or are settled without the participation of its insurer.”

In its statement on Tuesday, Hockey Canada did not directly address the source of the funds.

Hockey Canada’s finances were already under intense scrutiny. When asked during testimony in Ottawa on June 20 about the source of the money used by Hockey Canada in May’s settlement, Smith said the organization “liquidated a portion of our investments to pay for the settlement.”

Last month, Canada’s minister of sport, Pascale St-Onge, announced the freezing of government funding to the federation and called for a forensic audit. The Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage also initiated a series of hearings, which began on June 20 and continue with scheduled hearings July 26 and 27 in Ottawa with more witnesses from Hockey Canada being called as well as representatives from the CHL, law firm Henein Hutchison and Hockey Canada’s insurance company.

Liberal MP Chris Bittle, who is part of the Heritage Committee and will be in attendance for Tuesday and Wednesday’s hearings, said there will be “some very difficult questions” facing the organization next week.

“If you’re going to have a fund specifically for sexual assault settlements, we’re going to need greater details, we’re going to need better answers in terms of what’s going on, what’s happening at Hockey Canada,” Bittle told CityNews’ Cormac Mac Sweeney on Tuesday. “What are the decisions behind creating that? What are the decisions that led to creating that, versus broader changes in the culture of the sport and delving deeper into that?”

NDP MP Peter Julian, who also serves on the Heritage Committee, called the existence of the fund “extremely concerning” and said it will be a central focus of next week’s hearings — particularly, he said, when it comes to the estimated number of lawsuits paid out from it.

“Hockey Canada has not been transparent, they have not been accountable,” Julian told Mac Sweeney. “They’re going to have to chance that next week by answering, completely, these questions Canadians have.”

–With files from Paul D. Grant

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Jays (Finally) Win One – Bluebird Banter



Jays 6 Orioles 1

It is about time.

This is just a space holder for the recap, my tennis went long.

Ross Stripling was amazing. Just 1 hit allowed in 6.1. He threw 72 pitches and was in control.

And the offence finally broke through for 6 runs in the 8th (imagine the Hallaluah chorus playing here). And George Springer got his 1000th hit.

Life is good again.

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Here are the Raptors games you don’t want to miss in the 2022-23 season –



The Toronto Raptors will open their 2022-23 NBA season on Oct. 19 at Scotiabank Arena. Their regular season will conclude on April 9 at home against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Here are some things to highlight in the Raptors’ schedule this season.

Facing off against familiar foes

As has become customary, former beloved Raptors — especially those from the 2019 championship team — are likely to receive heroes’ welcomes upon their return to Toronto. If you’re looking to join in on the festivities, here’s a list of notable players and their arrivals back at Scotiabank Arena:

Demar DeRozan: In his second season with the Chicago Bulls, DeRozan is scheduled to pay two visits to Toronto: First on Nov. 6, and then on Feb. 28.

Serge Ibaka: Now with the Milwaukee Bucks, Ibaka is slated to return to Scotiabank Arena on Jan. 4 and the season finale on April 9.

Kawhi Leonard: The 2019 Finals MVP missed all of last season recovering from a partial tear in his right knee. He will, hopefully, be available when his Los Angeles Clippers come to town on Dec. 27.

Kyle Lowry: The return to Toronto for perhaps the most beloved Raptor of all time, and his Miami Heat, will be on Nov. 16 and March 28.

Norman Powell: Now a member of the Clippers, Powell will be accompanying Leonard when Los Angeles visits Toronto on Dec. 27.

Jonas Valanciunas: The well-liked New Orleans Pelicans centre and his team will be visiting on Feb. 23.

January could prove to be a pivotal month

Looking at each individual month of the schedule, January stands out since it features both the longest homestand the team will enjoy as well as the start of its longest road trip.

For six games and 11 days between Jan. 4 and Jan. 14, the Raptors will play in the friendly confines of Scotiabank Arena as they look to kick off the new year with some wind in their sails. The Raptors will face Milwaukee, New York, Portland, Charlotte twice (but not on a back-to-back) and then Atlanta during that period.

Beginning on Jan. 25 and then lasting seven games and 12 days until Feb. 5, the Raptors will be on their longest road swing of the season with stops in Sacramento, Golden State, Portland, Phoenix, Utah, Houston and Memphis.

The contests against Golden State and Portland will be back-to-backs and are one of 12 back-to-back sets the team will play this season (two fewer than last season).

Given the scheduling quirks in January, it could be important month as a means for the Raptors to rack up wins during the homestand and test themselves out on the road still with plenty of runway until the post-season.

Other games of note

Here’s a quick list of other notable games to keep an eye on:

Nov. 23/Dec. 16 — versus Brooklyn: It’s unclear if Kevin Durant will still be a member of the Brooklyn Nets when they make their trips up north, but if he is, that will surely be a scene at Scotiabank Arena.

Nov. 26 — versus Dallas: The NBA’s brightest young star, Luka Doncic, and his Dallas Mavericks are coming to town early in the season. As a bonus, Canadian national team stud Dwight Powell also plays for Dallas.

Dec. 5 — versus Boston: The eighth annual Giants of Africa Game celebrating the life of Nelson Mandela.

Dec. 7 — versus Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers make their annual visit to Toronto.

Dec. 18 — versus Golden State: Canadian Andrew Wiggins and the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors make their only trip to the Six.

Dec. 29 — versus Memphis: Raptors fans will be in for a treat as high-flying point guard Ja Morant will make his only trip to Toronto, but more importantly, Canadians Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke will be playing on home soil once again.

Jan. 6/Jan. 22 — versus New York: R.J. Barrett and the New York Knicks will be in Toronto in January.

Jan. 8 — versus Portland: Dame time is well and good, but the real attraction with this match is the opportunity to see London, Ont., native Shaedon Sharpe live. The most mysterious pick in the 2022 draft, no one really knows what kind of player he may be.

Feb. 10 — versus Utah: Canada’s Nickeil Alexander-Walker and the Utah Jazz will take on the Raptors in Toronto.

March 14 — versus Denver: Two-time defending MVP Nikola Jokic and Canadian star guard Jamal Murray will be in town with the Denver Nuggets to take on the Raptors.

March 16 — versus Oklahoma City: A game after hosting Murray, the Raptors will invite in another of Canada’s best in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Luguentz Dort when they face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

March 22 — versus Indiana: With three Canadians on the Indiana Pacers roster (Oshae Brissett and rookies Bennedict Mathurin and Andrew Nembhard), this Wednesday night in March should be a special one at Scotiabank Arena.

March 24 — versus Detroit: Canadian veterans Kelly Olynyk and Cory Joseph feature on this young, exciting Detroit Pistons team, but the storyline that will likely be on Raptors fans’ minds when the Pistons visit will be if Dwane Casey will, once again, get the best of his former team.

U.S. national television games

Lastly, for those who care about this kind of thing, the Raptors announced they will be on U.S. national television four times (twice on ESPN and twice on TNT). Additionally, Toronto will play on NBATV five times this season.

The Raptors will appear on two more U.S. national television games than last season.

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Czechia pulls off major upset over U.S., advances to WJC semifinal vs. Canada –



Czechia completed a 4-2 upset win over the previously unbeaten United States on Wednesday to punch its ticket to the semifinal of the 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton.

After the United States’ Logan Cooley opened the scoring just over 12 minutes into the game, Czechia responded with three straight tallies to take control of the contest against the defending champs.

Jan Mysak, Petr Hauser, Matyas Sapovaliv and Jiri Kulich all scored for Czechia. Kulich also recorded two assists.

Matthew Berard of the U.S. was assessed a five-minute major and a match penalty for slew-footing early in the third period. Czechia was unable to capitalize on the man advantage.

Later in the third, Czechia’s Stanislav Svozil received a five-minute major and a match penalty of his own after initiating a knee-on-knee hit with Cooley. The third-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft would remain in the game after the collision.

The U.S. capitalized on the man advantage courtesy of Carter Mazur to cut the deficit to 3-2. Kulich would later add an empty netter

Luke Hughes of the U.S. sustained an apparent lower-body injury early in the first period, he would exit the game and return for the start of the second frame.

Czechia is set to play Canada in Thursday’s semifinals. Sweden plays Finland in the other semi.

Czechia, which hasn’t won a medal at the event since 2005 when it captured bronze, went 1-0-1-2 in the round-robin stage.

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