A series of sex scandals has marred Canada’s favorite pastime, hockey, sparking a storm of controversy that even the prime minister, Justin Trudeau, is a huge fan of discipline. It all started in April, when a 24-year-old sued Hockey Canada (the federation that has run programs and teams from children’s level to the Olympic team for more than a century) alleging that she was raped in the summer of 2018 by eight players. Some of them are from the youth team. The events were said to have taken place in a hotel room in London, Ontario, after a fundraising dinner for Hockey Canada. The woman stated that she was under alcohol fumes at the time and later received pressure not to report her gang rape. In May, it was discovered that Hockey Club Canada had reached an out-of-court settlement with the woman and the identity of the accused was never known even if it was several former players on the national youth team, who meanwhile arrived in the National Hockey League. (Nhl), identified not participating. Meanwhile, in recent months there have been other complaints against the youth national team players, some dating back decades. Hockey Canada is now at the center of the storm, as sponsors tore up contracts and Parliament opened an investigation into the union, freezing federal funds and pressing for major resignations. Prime Minister Trudeau warned that “hockey must take its dark side seriously”. Hockey Canada is committed to “breaking the silence and eliminating toxic behaviour.” But the suspicion is that the popularity of ice sports in Canada (born in Montreal in 1875) has helped create the kind of impunity for its champions, favored by summit connivance. In June, fearing that federal funds would be used to silence the scandal in Ontario, Parliament organized hearings for the Federation and Sports Summit. It turns out that there have already been interventions to silence rape allegations, using the National Equity Fund into which young players’ registration fees are flowing. It has been found that for the past six years, the Canadian Hockey Club has had to intervene once or twice a year in sexual assault cases. Since 1989, the union has paid 7 million euros to reach out-of-court settlements in 21 sexual violence cases.
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