Senators' Batherson says he's cooperating with 2018 Hockey Canada sexual assault investigations

Senators forward and member of the 2018 Canadian World Junior team, Drake Batherson says he's cooperating with the ongoing sexual assault investigation, but out of respect to the person involved, and has no further comment at this time.

Editor's Note: The following story deals with sexual assault, and may be distressing for some readers.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found here.

Ottawa Senators forward Drake Batherson, a member of Canada's 2018 world junior hockey team, said he is participating in investigations into an alleged Hockey Canada group sexual assault in London, Ont., in June 2018.

“I've been cooperating with the ongoing investigations," Batherson said at Senators training camp Thursday. "Out of respect for the person involved, I’m not going to be making a comment on it now or in the future.”

In the case, a woman accused eight Canadian Hockey League players, including members of the 2018 world juniors team, of sexually assaulting her after a Hockey Canada gala.

Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit by the woman, which was filed in London on April 20, in May.

Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny for its handling of the incident and the lawsuit. The organization did not initially compel its players to participate in an independent investigation and used a National Equity Fund that drew from registration fees to pay out settlements relating to sexual assaults.

The federal government has since frozen funding to Hockey Canada and the organization has lost funding from several sponsors.

Hockey Canada has reopened its investigation into the 2018 incident, as has the London Police. The NHL is also conducting an investigation of its own.

NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly said last month that the investigation was "moving along" and that the league would do a "thorough, comprehensive job." Daly said, at that point, the NHL was receiving full cooperation.

Batherson is one of two Senators players who were on Canada's 2018 world junior team. The other, Alex Formenton, is not yet at training camp because he's a restricted free agent without a contract for this upcoming season.

On Wednesday, Senators general manager Pierre Dorion told the media he could not speak on the Hockey Canada investigation until it is resolved.

“I think we all want to have answers,” he said, “but because of the NHL pending investigations, we cannot comment on it.”

Dorion added that the situation has not had an impact on his contract dealings with players.

Batherson is under contract with the Senators through 2026-27.

Hockey Canada executives are scheduled to appear for a third parliamentary hearing with the Canadian Heritage committee on Oct. 4.

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