The wacky testimony of the leaders of Hockey Canada
To say the least, outgoing President and CEO Tom Renney, his successor Scott Smith and Hockey Canada Foundation Chairman Dave Andrews did not appear sincere or smart. As they testified under oath (a request from a committee member who obviously took them by surprise), they told a story worthy of Captain Bonhomme.
According to the narrative framework adopted by MM. Renney and Smith, leaders of Hockey Canada (HC) were warned hours after the alleged gang rape, on the morning of June 19, 2018, that serious allegations related to several players who had worn the colors of the national team six months earlier .
However, the police in London, where the facts allegedly occurred on the sidelines of a Hockey Canada Foundation gala, were not notified until around 7 p.m. in the evening.
Before notifying the police, HC leaders returned to Calgary, where they held various meetings to establish a plan of action. In particular, they met their vice-president responsible for insurance and risk management, Glen McCurdie. They spoke to their lawyer and they notified their insurance company! And it wasn’t until later that they found it was time to call 911.
The sequel is quite surreal.
Hockey Canada quickly commissioned a third party, the law firm Henein Hutchison, to conduct an internal investigation to determine what might have happened on the night of June 18-19 in a London hotel room .
The federation then contacted the agents of all the players in the team for the
encourage to cooperate in the investigation. Hockey Canada would also have contacted the junior teams of all Junior Team Canada (JCT) players so that these organizations
encourage their players to participate in the internal investigation.
In the land of the unicorns, agents representing athletes who will eventually earn them millions in commission may be advising their clients to voluntarily participate in investigations that could incriminate them. But in Canada in 2018, that didn’t happen.
And to the surprise of Tom Renney and Scott Smith, not all players met with the private investigators. Renney estimates that only 4-6 players made it. An hour and a half later, finding that they had a serious credibility problem, Smith estimated that it was rather between 12 and 13 players who had chosen to participate.
But in either case, we agree, the eight alleged attackers were easily able to squeeze through the cracks in the floor.
Also, the fact that the two most senior executives of Hockey Canada were unable to establish with certainty how many players had collaborated in the investigation was extremely revealing. Obviously, they never really cared about it. And they didn’t even see fit to review the case before appearing before a parliamentary committee.
Of course, what had to happen, happened. According to Tom Renney and Scott Smith, in September 2020, investigators retained by Henein Hutchison came to the conclusion that it would be impossible for them to establish who were the eight players who were in the hotel room with a young woman 20 years old on the night of June 18-19, 2018, nor to determine what happened that night.
Talk about bad luck.
Members of the Heritage Committee asked HC leaders to provide them with Henein Hutchison’s report. The leaders of Hockey Canada objected to this, citing the bond of confidentiality that unites them to the legal firm they hired.
Anyway, this report is incompleteargued Tom Renney.
Hockey Canada is the most powerful hockey federation in the world and probably the most powerful sports federation in Canada. Several MPs, including New Democrat Peter Julian and Liberal Anthony Housefather, have repeatedly asked why the organization did not require all Junior Team Canada players, without exception, to meet with investigators. .
Our code of conduct is vague when it comes to events that take place outside of sport. We are reviewing itargued, in all roles, Renney and Smith.
Listening to them, we actually wondered why no one had previously thought of specifying, in the code of conduct, that gang rape is prohibited on gala evenings.
The sequel, hold on tight, is even more bewildering.
Nearly four years after the alleged gang rape in London, Hockey Canada is the subject of a civil lawsuit on April 20. The alleged victim, who was 20 years old in June 2018, was jointly suing Hockey Canada, the Canadian League (regrouping the three Canadian major junior circuits) and the eight alleged attackers (identified under the pseudonym John Doe and numbered from 1 to 8) for the sum of 3.55 million.
What was the reaction of Hockey Canada executives when they received a lawsuit accusing unknown persons and alleging heinous crimes that their own investigators had failed to establish? They immediately liquidated investments that the federation had made in order to be able to compensate the victim.
According to their bizarre story, the leaders of HC had no idea what had happened. And they knew nothing of the identity of the alleged attackers. In addition, the prosecution documents contained several falsehoods, according to Scott Smith, in particular when the alleged victim accused Hockey Canada of having done nothing to pin down or punish the alleged attackers.
But in reality, Hockey Canada rushed to settle the matter on behalf of everyone. In the space of a month, the Canadian League and the eight alleged attackers saw a white knight appear from Hockey Canada‘s headquarters waving a check in their name.
As passes on the palette, it is difficult to do better.
We took responsibility (for the lawsuit) based on the fact that we wanted to respect the young woman’s right to privacy. You can understand that we knew since 2018. (…) We got in touch with the plaintiff’s lawyers and we settled immediatelyexplained Scott Smith.
Criticizing the incredible scenario presented to him, Bloc Québécois MP Sébastien Lemire suggested that teams sponsored by Hockey Canada should lose the right to wear the maple leaf.
In my eyes, you are John Doe number 9he launched to the three representatives of Hockey Canada.
Moreover, we still wonder what Dave Andrews was doing before the members of the heritage committee.
The alleged gang rape took place on the sidelines of an event hosted by the Hockey Canada Foundation. But the Foundation’s president (Andrews) didn’t learn the story until May 24, he said, when a deal was struck with the alleged victim.
It is extremely convenient for Andrews to have been kept in the dark because he was also president of the American Hockey League at the time. And several 2018 Junior Team Canada players joined the American Hockey League weeks after London’s alleged gang rape. Had Andrews known, his integrity would have been seriously tainted.
By the end of the hearing, a lot of people in the room were probably wondering how such clueless guys had made it to the top of the Canadian hockey pyramid.
Scott Smith revealed that on average, one or two cases of sexual assault or misconduct are brought to the attention of Hockey Canada officials.
And he said that in addition to the London gang rape story, two other cases are currently active. But he could not explain what these two other cases consist of because he had not seen fit to prepare to answer questions about them. The agenda, he justified, was only about London’s alleged gang rape.
Imagine. You appear before a parliamentary committee to talk about an alleged gang rape that is causing scandal across the country. And you are not even able to imagine that you could be asked contextual questions on the subject of aggression
Democrat MP Peter Julian criticized them for being poorly prepared for this hearing and for throwing around words like
zero tolerance which in fact have no substance and which are not supported by any measure or concrete action.
And once again, Julian went back to the fact that ECJ players were never obliged to cooperate with the investigators for justice to be done.
It will be interesting to see what follow-up the Heritage Committee will give to this insulting appearance for anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence.
The Minister of Sports, Pascale St-Onge, declared that we had just had a good example of the culture of silence that exists in the world of hockey and she added that it
there must be consequences to what has happened within Hockey Canada.
In the meantime, sadly, we have all seen firsthand that the culture of our national sport is rotten to the top of the pyramid.