Hockey Canada says the 2019 email does not reflect the ‘current trend’ of the federation

TORONTO — Hockey Canada says a 2019 email detailing its desire for autonomy for its safe sport cases does not reflect the organization’s current direction.

The National Federation, which has been under intense scrutiny since news of an alleged sexual assault in 2018, and subsequent hidden payments, responded in May to a three-page email sent to the sports minister’s office.

In an email obtained by The Canadian Press, Hockey Canada bragged about running a safe sport that was “second to none” but raised concerns with a third-party investigator or a free reporting line.

“Canadian hockey recognizes that we need to do more to promote a safe and positive environment on and off the ice,” the federation said in a statement on Wednesday. “This is why we are implementing significant changes to how complaints are received and investigated. This includes creating a new, independent third party complaint process and becoming a full site for the Government’s Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner.”

Sports Minister Pascal Saint Aung launched OSIC in June to conduct independent investigations into allegations of abuse and mistreatment in sport, and set an April 2023 deadline for national sports organizations to sign agreements to work with the new office.

Weightlifting and volleyball are the only national sports federations signed so far, although dozens of other National Scout Societies are in negotiations.

The three-page email, signed by Glenn McCurdy, then vice president of Hockey Canada Insurance and Risk Management, also details the organization’s National Equity Fund used for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault claims.

“Hockey Canada’s comments as part of a 2019 safe sports consultation with the Office of the Secretary of Science and Sports do not reflect our organization’s current thinking or direction on these issues,” the Canadian hockey team said in the statement. In fact, in contrast to the letter (The Canadian Press) referred to, Hockey Canada has proactively participated in the government’s secure Mathematical Helpline, which has included third-party investigators investigating any allegations it received.

“Through the advisory, Hockey Canada has also provided information about our insurance policies relating to sexual misconduct claims. In addition, use of the National Equity Fund is currently suspended and is under review as part of an independent third-party governance review.”

Kirsty Duncan, Minister for Science and Sports from 2015 to 2019, said she had not received the Hockey Canada email addressed to Michael Paramathasan, the former chief policy advisor to the Sports Minister, when it was sent on October 29, 2019.

Alleged sexual assault following a celebratory event in 2018 in London, Ontario, involving eight unknown players, including members of that year’s global junior team. In July allegations surfaced of a gang sexual assault of the 2003 World Youth Team.

None of these allegations have been proven in court.

Hockey Canada’s federal funding has been cut due to its handling of the case and the settlement, while a number of companies have paused bail dollars.

This report was first published by The Canadian Press on September 14, 2022.