Hockey Canada says the final report from an independent adjudication panel that looked into an alleged 2018 sexual assault of a woman involving members of that year’s world junior team will not be released publicly amid an appeal.
The organization said in a statement Tuesday that the panel was provided a final third-party investigative report into the matter in November 2022 and held a hearing to determine if any of the accused players violated Hockey Canada’s code of conduct, and what sanctions may be imposed.
“That hearing is complete and the panel has provided its final adjudicative report to all involved parties. Shortly thereafter, a notice of appeal was filed, as is permitted under Hockey Canada’s Investigation and Adjudication Procedures,” Hockey Canada said.
“As the appeal process, which we anticipate will begin in the near future, will be conducted in-camera (privately), we are not able to share details of the report, including its findings at this time to ensure that we do not interfere with the integrity of the appeal process,” the statement said.
The statement did not say who filed the appeal, or whether it was filed by one or more than one individual.
All players from the 2018 world junior team remain suspended by Hockey Canada and are ineligible to play, coach or otherwise participate in any Hockey Canada-sanctioned events — including international competition — pending the completion of the appeal process, the organization said.
The investigative report from law firm Henein Hutchison LLP has also remained sealed throughout the adjudication process, which itself was carried out in private.
News broke last May that some members of the 2018 world junior team were accused of a group sexual assault after a Hockey Canada gala event in London, Ont., in June 2018, after TSN first reported Hockey Canada had settled a civil lawsuit with the complainant.
Two investigations — one by London police and another by law firm Henein Hutchison, which was retained by Hockey Canada to conduct an independent probe — were launched a day after the incident allegedly occurred. Both were closed months later with no charges or sanctions against any of the players alleged to have been involved.
After the allegations became public last year, both investigations were reopened.
Court documents first reported by the Globe and Mail last December and confirmed by Global News revealed London police say they have “reasonable grounds” to believe five members of the 2018 world junior team allegedly sexually assaulted a woman after the 2018 Hockey Canada gala.
No charges have been filed and none of the allegations included in the court documents have been proven.
Hockey Canada has faced a reckoning over its overall handling of sexual assault cases involving players. Media reports have revealed the organization maintained a reserve fund, fueled by membership fees, that was used in part to settle sexual misconduct cases.
Hockey Canada has said the fund will no longer be used for that purpose.
Top sponsors including Nike, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire, Scotiabank and Esso also pulled their sponsorships, demanding change within the top ranks of the organization.
After months of pressure, the entire board of directors and leadership team resigned in October. The newly-installed board and leadership have promised to change the overall culture within the sport and the organization.
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