NHL stars say Canada Hockey sex abuse scandal ‘terrible for everyone’

Connor McDavid has answered calls to wear the Red Maple Leaf of Canada shirt throughout his career.

The same goes for Nathan MacKinnon.

And like the rest of the country, the two stars watch from afar as a scandalous summer unfolds for Canadian Hockey – the sport’s national governing body – following news of an alleged sexual assault involving members of the 2018 world youth team.

“I’m so proud to be Canadian, so proud to represent Canadian Hockey,” McDavid, captain of the Edmonton Oilers, said Thursday at the NHL/NHLPA players media tour just outside Las Vegas.

“A very bad situation for everyone.”

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Canadian hockey has come under intense scrutiny since alleged sexual assault following a 2018 gala dinner in London, Ont., involving eight unidentified players – including members of the team world youth that year – and the hidden settlement was later revealed in May.

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Allegations of gang sexual assault involving the 2003 world youth team then surfaced in July.

None of the charges were proven in court.

“It’s sad,” said MacKinnon, who won the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche in June. “There is no room for that.

“I don’t know all the investigative stuff, but whatever happened was amiss – that’s the main thing.”

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It was also clarified that Hockey Canada kept a so-called National Equity Fund maintained by player registries across the country that, in part, paid off uninsured debts, including including sexual abuse complaints, since the 1990s.

The organization has said it will no longer use the funds for that purpose.

Hockey Canada had its federal funding cut off after it handled the 2018 case and settlement, several corporations halted dollar funding, and politicians have called for regime change, including the firing of chairman and chief executive officer Scott Smith.

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In response to the firestorm, the organization has released an action plan to address systemic problems in hockey and has reopened a third-party investigation into the 2018 incident. as well as the police in London. The NHL is also investigating.

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Colorado guard Cale Makar, who was a member of the 2018 world youth team but previously stated that he was not involved in the alleged incident, spoke to investigators shortly afterwards. and will do so again.

“I am completely an open book,” Makar said. “I will be ready for anything. Whatever they need, basically, I’ll be there.”

Defending champion Norris Trophy as head of the NHL said he spoke to his parents over the summer about the state of Hockey Canada, including its National Equity Fund.

“You think even myself would get ahead on light hockey,” said the 23-year-old, who also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as a playoff MVP after helping Colorado win a second title. . “My parents talked about all the fees they paid Canadian Hockey and yada yada so I could play, and then when all of this was revealed, I can only imagine the amount that parents thought, ‘Oh, this is where I’m going to pay. ‘

“It was obviously a very tough look. Identity and culture definitely need to be changed. It was just that time.”

© 2022 Canadian Press

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