CALGARY, Alta. – The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada:
“Yesterday evening, Hockey Canada learned of an alleged group sexual assault from 2003 involving members of the 2002-03 National Junior Team after being contacted by Rick Westhead of TSN/CTV National News with disturbing details of the alleged incident. Mr. Westhead informed Hockey Canada he has spoken to multiple witnesses who provided him with explicit descriptions of an assault, following an interview with Conservative MP John Nater who is in possession of the same or similar information.
The details in Mr. Westhead’s email were deeply disturbing and Hockey Canada immediately contacted Halifax Regional Police, as Halifax was the co-host city of the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship, and also notified Sport Canada of the information shared with us. We have urged Mr. Westhead to immediately speak with police and to encourage his sources to do the same. We also implore MP Nater to contact the authorities with any information he or his office has received on this alleged group sexual assault.
Hockey Canada is committed to bringing an end to the culture of silence in hockey. That is why we are publicly calling for anyone with knowledge of this incident to come forward to police, and we are being transparent in how we learned of this alleged assault and the steps we are taking to address it.
Prior to receiving Mr. Westhead’s email, two weeks ago, Hockey Canada staff heard a rumour about “something bad at the 2003 World Juniors” but were given no details of any sort. We immediately reported this information to Sport Canada. In order to learn more, Hockey Canada hired a third-party investigator to try to find more information. They were unable to learn anything before we received the details mentioned above in an email from Mr. Westhead.
We believe the alleged incident from 2003 should be investigated by the authorities, and we urge the police to open an investigation into this disturbing situation. Hockey Canada will cooperate with and support the authorities in every way we can, and we once again urge anyone who may have relevant information about this alleged incident to contact Halifax police immediately.
Hockey Canada wants to hear from anyone – past or present – who feels they are the victim of mistreatment, sexual violence, harassment or abuse by someone affiliated with our organization. You can reach out via the Canadian Sport Helpline, a free, anonymous, confidential and independent service in both official languages: 1-888-837 7678 or [email protected]. We also encourage anyone who may need support to reach out to one of the many victim resource services across Canada. A general listing of resources in this area is available on the website of the Canadian Resource Centre for the Victims of Crime at crcvc.ca.”