Scandal at Hockey Canada | Bettman expects all players involved to testify


Details are still scarce regarding the NHL’s investigation into gang rape allegations against 2018 Canadian youth team players. Gary Bettman, however, firmly believes he expects “full cooperation” from all parties involved.

Posted at 18:50

Simon Olivier Lorange

Simon Olivier Lorange
The print

“I don’t see why a player shouldn’t testify,” the NHL commissioner said Thursday during a press scrum, hours before the first round of the draft at the Bell Center began. He expects the teams of individuals linked to this case to “make their players available” and “tell the truth”.

Following the annual Hockey Canada foundation gala in June 2018, a young woman was reportedly raped by eight hockey players in a hotel room in London, Ontario. Almost four years later, last April, the victim filed a civil lawsuit against the eight suspects, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League, an entity that brings together the country’s three youth leagues. As the lawsuit states, the eight men targeted were all Canadian League players in 2018, but they weren’t necessarily members of the Canadian squad, whose World Juniors triumph was highlighted that year.

Hockey Canada quickly settled the case out of court. Last May, after the affair was revealed to the public, the NHL indicated it was initiating an investigation to clarify the events and identify the perpetrators.

“We want to conduct the most thorough investigation possible,” Bettman said Thursday. In a rare hint of sarcasm, he expressed a desire to learn “more, of course, than what Hockey Canada has been able to reveal to us”.

The organization quickly hired an outside company to investigate the allegations during the summer of 2018. However, we learned during a recent Hockey Canada hearing before the Heritage Committee in Ottawa that just a dozen players, at most, they would have agreed to provide a testimony to investigators. The result was a report described as “incomplete” by Hockey Canada, which deemed the file closed.

“Our goal is to go all the way [cette affaire] and to have a full understanding of who did what, “continued Gary Bettman, who called the alleged acts” horrifying, frightening and unacceptable “.

The latter said he counted on the collaboration of the Footballers’ Association, which, however, did not formally participate in the process. The latest “parameters” of the survey have not yet been revealed. The league has appointed its executive vice president of security, Jared Maples, to initiate the investigation. It is not excluded that he turns to an external company to support him.

“Not constructive”

Although he “observed the hearing” for Hockey Canada at the Commons, Gary Bettman did not comment on the responses of its leaders or the investigative process carried out by the organization. Expressing criticism “would not be constructive,” he believes.

However, he hopes that Hockey Canada will be able to provide the NHL with the results, even incomplete, of its research. “We are trying to find out if we can have access to what they have. It hasn’t happened yet, “said the commissioner.

We ask for all possible information.

Gary Bettman, NHL Commissioner

To his knowledge, some players’ agents of the 2018 Canadian youth team communicated with the NHL management, but in an “anecdotal” way. “Nothing that allows us to say: that’s what we know or don’t know. ”

From the Players Association, Mathieu Scheider, adviser to the executive director, declined to comment on the situation. ” More [des joueurs], if not all players have their own advisors, so we are not involved. The league just keeps us informed, “said the former Canadiens defender.

Silence on Russia

While Gary Bettman was willing to answer questions about the Hockey Canada scandal, he was far less talkative about the thorny issue of league-Russia relations.

Goalkeeper Ivan Fedotov, the 2015 Flyers’ seventh round pick, was arrested in Russia last week on the grounds that a few years ago he obtained a “military identity card” to evade compulsory military service. He has since been sent to a military naval camp. On Wednesday, it became known that striker Kirill Kaprizov was actively wanted in Russia for the same reasons.

When questioned on Wednesday, the circuit’s general managers seemed uncomfortable with the situation. They said they received no guidelines from the league, which Gary Bettman confirmed.

Very circumspect, the councilor stressed that “it is probably not a good idea, for us or for the clubs, to be involved in [tractations] politics of what is happening in Russia “.

“Russian players who still reside in Russia need to make sure they make the best decisions for themselves and their families,” he added concisely.

With the collaboration of Guillaume Lefrançois, The print


Leave a Comment