Conor McDavid has responded to the call to wear Canadian red maple leaf throughout his career.
The same goes for Nathan McKinnon.
Like the rest of the country, the two stars watched from afar a scandal-filled summer unfold for Hockey Canada – the sport’s national governing body – after news of the alleged sexual assault of members of the 2018 World Junior Team.
“I am very proud to be Canadian, and very proud to represent Canada hockey,” McDavid, the Edmonton Oilers captain, said Thursday at the NHL/NHLPA players media tour outside Las Vegas.
“A terrible situation for everyone.”
If you or someone you know needs support, those in Canada can find provincial crisis centers, lines, and services. over here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found over here.
Canadian hockey has come under intense scrutiny since the alleged sexual assault after a 2018 London party in Onton, which involved eight unidentified players – including members of that year’s world junior team – and a subsequent silent settlement was revealed in May.
Then, in July, allegations of gang sexual abuse by the 2003 World Junior Team surfaced.
None of these allegations have been proven in court.
“It’s sad,” said McKinnon, who won the Stanley Cup with his Colorado Avalanche in June. “There is no place for that.
“I don’t know all the elements of the investigation, but everything that happened was not good – that’s the main thing.”
It was also revealed that Hockey Canada has maintained a so-called National Equity Fund held by player registrations from across the country, in part, to pay unsecured liabilities, including sexual assault claims, since the 1990s.
The organization said it would no longer use the fund for this purpose.
Federal funding for Hockey Canada has been cut in the wake of its handling and settlement of the 2018 case, a number of companies have paused sponsorship dollars, and politicians have called for regime change, including the dismissal of President and CEO Scott Smith.
In response to the firestorm, the organization released an action plan aimed at addressing systemic issues in hockey and reopened a third-party investigation into the 2018 incident, as did police in London. The NHL is also investigating.
Colorado defender Cal McCar, who was a member of the 2018 World Junior Team, but has previously stated that he was not involved in the alleged incident, spoke with investigators in its immediate aftermath, and will do so again.
“I’m completely open,” Makar said. “I’ll be ready for anything. Whatever they need, I’ll basically be there.”
The winner of the NHL Player of the Year Norris said he spoke with his parents over the summer about the state of hockey in Canada, including the National Equity Fund.
“You’re even thinking about getting out with a little hockey game,” said the 23-year-old, who also won the Conn Smith Cup as the play-off of the playoff after helping Colorado win its second title. “My parents talk about all the fees they paid for Hockey Canada and yada yada so I could play, and then for all of that stuff to show up, I could just imagine how many parents were thinking, ‘Oh, that’s where my fees go.
“Obviously it’s a very harsh look. Identity and culture definitely need to change. It’s just time.”