Canada hosts hockey world juniors in shadow of scandal

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (AP) — The World Junior Hockey Championship in Canada in the next two weeks has been overshadowed by Hockey Canada’s handling of an explosive sexual assault allegation.

The national hockey governing body has been embroiled in controversy for months after it was revealed in May that it had reached a settlement with a woman who said she was sexually assaulted by several members of the 2018 world junior team. In July, Halifax Regional Police began investigating allegations that a team member sexually assaulted a woman in 2003, filming the attack during a game.

No charges were filed. In the past week, police in London, Ont., said they had reason to believe a woman was sexually assaulted by five players on the 2018 Canada team.

In July, Canadian Hockey executives also revealed they had paid $8.9 million in sexual abuse settlements since 1989, not including the 2018 deal. The organization elected a new board of directors on December 17 and is still searching for a new chief executive. The previous board resigned and President and CEO Scott Smith was ousted due to the controversy.

Halifax’s Kyle Wagner said the scandals sparked chaos in his eight-year-old son’s team’s locker room ahead of this year’s World Junior Championships, jointly hosted by Halifax and Moncton, New Brunswick. discuss. The event starts on Monday.

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“An eight-year-old is smart because my son knows that hockey is controversial this year, and while he doesn’t know a lot of the details, he knows something is wrong and it sucks,” Wagner said.

Earlier this year, news that Hockey Canada maintains a fund that uses small hockey membership fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims, sparked an uproar. Sponsors pulled out, the nation’s sports minister stripped Hockey Canada of federal funding and the governing body’s leaders were heavily questioned by parliament.

Hockey Canada’s new board president, retired judge Hugh L. Fraser, sees it as his duty to help heal the game, along with eight new board members.

“Very frustrating, very frustrating,” Fraser said in a recent interview with Canadian media about his reaction to Canada’s disastrous 2022. “Everyone asks me the same question: ‘How did this happen?'”

The public and politician backlash was swift.

“It’s very hard for anyone in Canada to trust or trust anyone in Hockey Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said July 19. He also said there needed to be a “real reckoning” with the group.

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Now it’s Fraser’s turn, with nearly 30 years of experience in the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa, and with the board picking a new CEO and planning the future of Hockey Canada during a special one-year term.

“When I see some of the things that are happening – allegations of abuse and even racism, misogyny – you really feel like if you have the opportunity to get involved, to do something, to help make a difference, that’s what you should be doing. Just let it go,” he told The Christian Post.

Frazier’s son Mark, who played seven seasons in the NHL and is now the culture and inclusion manager for the Toronto Maple Leafs, has had some harrowing moments as a black man with black kids playing minor hockey. He wants to make the game better.

“You heard me,” Fraser said. “A couple of times other players came over and said, ‘Somebody called your son the N-word.’ We had fans who, once in a while, really misbehaved and created a very uncomfortable atmosphere. Although we saw a lot Positives — lots and lots of positives — but as a person of color, you don’t see a lot of people like you in your sport.

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“There were some tough times.”

But why did Fraser, who represented Canada in Olympic track and field in 1976, join the daunting task at the twilight of his career, which still includes various roles, including the Court of Arbitration for Sport?

“It’s not at the point where I’m ready to sit back and relax,” he said. “It’s a huge challenge, but at the same time, there’s a huge opportunity.

For now, fans will be focusing on Canada’s efforts to win the World Junior Championships for the second time in a row and third in the past four years.

The New Brunswick government has included a “good conduct” clause in its sponsorship contract with the Canadian Hockey Championships. The contract states that representatives of Hockey Canada “must be of good character and free from immoral conduct” during the event.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said the leadership change in Canadian ice hockey “clears the way for the Mayor of Moncton and myself to focus on the game of hockey and what it brings to our two cities.” benefit.”


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