Photo by: Brenden Cowan
*CONTENT WARNING: This article deals with sexual violence and may be harmful to some readers*
Recently, TSN’s Rick Westhead announced that Hockey Canada will not allow players from the 2018 Canadian world junior team to play for their country in international play until the ongoing investigation into an alleged group sexual assault is completed.
The events of the alleged sexual assault came to light on May 26, 2022, after the victim, whose name has remained anonymous, filed a statement claim seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the CHL and eight unnamed players.
Since then, Hockey Canada has lost many sponsorship deals, including those with brands such as Scotiabank, Sport Chek and Tim Hortons. The whole board of directors have stepped down and a new board has been put together to help solve the problems that have been going on within the organization for so many years.
With the investigation still ongoing, Hockey Canada decided to ban all those who were a part of the 2018 team from playing. This list includes notable NHL players such as Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche), Robert Thomas (St. Louis Blues), Jordan Kyrou (St. Louis Blues), Drake Bartherson (Ottawa Senators) and Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers).
Although Hockey Canada has not officially put out an announcement banning said players, they are expected to in the near future. This could impact the 2023 World Championship team and how team management configures the squad. The tournament is set to take place from May 12 to 28 and from the looks of it, they could be missing some key players.
NHL players that do not participate in playoffs or are knocked out early, usually go to represent their country, so in this year’s case players such as Jordan Kyrou, Robert Thomas, Maxime Comtois, Drake Batherson, Sam Steel, Cal Foote, Dante Fabro, Carter Hart and potentially Cale Makar will not be eligible for Steve Yzerman and his management team to choose from.
The last reports of the investigation were made on Feb. 9 when police revealed that they have evidence to believe that five of the players sexually assaulted the woman, in a hotel room after their Hockey Canada Gala.
To read more on the subject report from Feb. 9 click here and for a full breakdown of the timeline of the incident visit here.