What we realized from Day 1 of the Hockey Canada hearings

OTTAWA — The primary day of hearings held by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage was theoretically speculated to be much less newsworthy than Wednesday’s appearances by Hockey Canada and Canadian Hockey League officers.

However appearances on Tuesday by Danielle Robitaille, associate of Hockey Canada’s third-party investigating legislation agency Henein Hutchison, minister of sport Pascale St-Onge, Sport Canada senior director Michael Ruest and deputy minister Isabelle Mondou offered a couple of massive moments of their very own.

The hearings have been prompted by current revelations of an alleged sexual assault in 2018 by eight CHL gamers, a few of whom have been members of the Canadian World Junior group, after a Hockey Canada occasion in London, Ont.

Largest takeaways from Day 1:


In a robust and impassioned opening assertion, St-Onge made it clear change might be coming to Hockey Canada’s management.

“Hockey Canada mustn’t underestimate the work forward,” she mentioned in French. “The group’s board and administration leaders have an ethical duty to replicate on the function they need to play in what comes subsequent. They have to ask themselves if they’re the suitable individuals to have an effect on tradition change. Is that this group of leaders adequately outfitted to hold out a system-wide change? Is there sufficient variety in decision-making roles to drive change? Are there sufficient girls in vital management positions inside Hockey Canada to supply wanted perspective on sexual violence and its influence?

“Hockey Canada must be requested all of those questions. The character of their solutions will decide the credibility of the group and the extent of seriousness that they suggest to absorb their subsequent steps.

“Hockey Canada should additionally take this example as a possibility to make a basic shift on the underlying violence within the sport, together with points akin to racism, concussions or combating on the ice. Canadians count on Hockey Canada to behave in another way and it requires management able to doing so.

“Hockey Canada, the entire nation is watching.”

Bloc Quebecois MP and affiliate committee member Sébastien Lemire informed Sportsnet he has doubts in regards to the present Hockey Canada management.

“In fact we need to see change,” he mentioned after the listening to. “If what they do prior to now they’ll do once more, I am very, very anxious about (it). They’re taking motion as a result of they’ve lots of strain — strain by politicians, in fact, by the (sports activities) minister, by the media. However the query is: If we’re not there right now, do they modify their tradition as they are saying? The reply is completely no.”

NDP MP committee member Peter Julian mentioned inserting Hockey Canada right into a trusteeship or guardianship shouldn’t be out of the query.

“That is one thing that must be thought-about if what we see (Wednesday) is much like what we noticed final month, which was Hockey Canada stonewalling on necessary questions which can be requested to it,” Julian informed Sportsnet. “So, I believe the strain is on the Hockey Canada executives (Wednesday) to really be clear to point out that they take the difficulty of sexual violence and sexual abuse severely and persuade the Canadian public that they’re going to be acceptable trustees of our nationwide winter sport.

“I definitely, as a member of the committee, am awaiting their testimony. I count on transparency, I believe Canadians count on transparency and taking duty. We’ll see whether or not or not that truly involves cross. After which if you couple that with systematically Hockey Canada not placing into place measures that they’ve dedicated to prior to now, like even gathering racism statistics, that was one thing they dedicated to over two years in the past, they didn’t do it. They hold placing it off, and these are all parts that undermine confidence in Hockey Canada.”

What this implies: Scott Smith took over on July 1 as chief of Hockey Canada from the now-retired CEO Tom Renney, including president to his title of chief working officer. With the statements about Hockey Canada’s management getting stronger and louder, and with different necessary voices akin to members of the ladies’s nationwide group and Sheldon Kennedy becoming a member of the refrain, you need to count on new management — or perhaps a new construction completely (new title, new accountability) — is coming sooner slightly than later for Hockey Canada.


The most important takeaway from Tuesday’s testimony for Julian revolved round Sport Canada’s management.

Underneath questioning by Conservative MP and committee vice-chair John Nater, Ruest testified that Sport Canada had been notified in regards to the 2018 allegations surrounding Hockey Canada and didn’t maintain again funding or take additional motion. Nater cited 4 funding requests that had been permitted after Ruest was personally notified of the allegations in June 2018.

Ruest mentioned this was as a result of Sport Canada was ready for completion of the prison and third-party investigations.

“Nobody’s asking Sport Canada themselves to research,” Nater mentioned through the listening to. “You simply talked about they took notice. They took notice and wrote down a chunk of paper and nothing extra occurred with that, it was saved in a submitting cupboard someplace and the (earlier) minister of sport, who two weeks earlier had made a giant deal about secure sport, wasn’t even knowledgeable. They took notice after which did nothing. That is not good for anybody within the sporting group, it isn’t good for people taking part, it isn’t good for victims, and that is what occurred.”

That additionally did not fly with Julian.

“The failure of Sport Canada actually to implement the foundations that they supposedly had put into place 20 years in the past, their refusal to even take severely allegations of significant prison exercise which can be encompassed by the allegations of sexual violence” was the most important takeaway, Julian informed Sportsnet. “I imply, it is unbelievable to me that you’d mainly take it and file it slightly than take it severely.

“So, I believe it is truthful to say Hockey Canada has has let down Canadians, I might say Sport Canada has let down Canadians too, and let down these athletes which can be victims and victims from most of the people who’ve been victimized partly as a result of we have seen no concrete motion taken.”

What this implies: Though the warmth is not as scorching on Ruest as it’s on Hockey Canada’s management, you need to suppose some accountability or, on the very least, a more durable line on following up with particular person sport associations in Canada is coming.


Robitaille, a associate with Toronto-based legislation agency Henein Hutchison LLC, was the primary on Tuesday to seem earlier than the committee. She mentioned her agency was contacted to conduct an investigation on the morning after the alleged incident passed off in London on June 19, 2018. She mentioned the legislation agency’s recommendation was to contact London police; Hockey Canada executives testified on June 20, 2022, that they contacted London police round “6 p.m. to 7 p.m.” that day. Robitaille added her agency was employed on June 21, 2018, to conduct an investigation.

She mentioned that between June 30 and July 11, 2018, she travelled throughout Canada and america to conduct interviews with 10 of the 19 gamers who have been on the gala occasion in London on June 18, 2018. On July 7, 2018, Henein Hutchison realized that London police have been conducting their very own investigation. On July 13, 2018, seven gamers mentioned they might not take part in interviews till the London police investigation had been accomplished. On that very same date, July 13, 2018, Robitaille testified, the complainant mentioned she wouldn’t take part within the legislation agency’s investigation till the police investigation had been accomplished.

After interviewing coaches and different employees members, Henein Hutchison submitted its “interim report” on Sept. 14, 2018. Over the following 18 months, the legislation agency continued to contact the girl by means of her legal professional to be interviewed, however with out her account and the prison investigation closed by London police, it closed its personal investigation.

When pressed by the committee to say if she knew who the eight suspected gamers are within the alleged 2018 incident, Robitaille selected her phrases rigorously.

“That is an space that I’ve to be very cautious in answering,” she informed the committee. “As I indicated, the objective of our mandate is the seek for the reality. I don’t need to present a solution in the midst of these proceedings that might probably taint the proof from different witnesses that I’ve but to listen to from, nor do I need to present a solution that taints the proof that can be offered to the London Police Service, who’s reopened their investigation, or the NHL or NHLPA ongoing investigation.

“And so I do have to say no answering that query, with the next caveat: My investigation goes nicely. As I indicated, I’ve the complainant assertion now. And as I indicated in my opening assertion, I’m well-equipped to proceed this investigation.”

What it means: Though she didn’t straight reply the query, Robitaille’s response that the investigation is “going nicely” would appear to point all the important thing events are taking part, which is forward of the place the agency was from 2018-20. If that is the case, and together with the truth that Robitaille mentioned London police haven’t requested her to cease her investigation, we’re a lot nearer to discovering out what occurred and who was concerned within the alleged incident of June 19, 2018.

–with information from Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre

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