Court filing provides more details in alleged Hockey Canada sexual assault

London police logo pictured on an officer. (Lars Hagberg/CP)

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.

In a filing with the Ontario Court of Justice, the London police say they have reasonable grounds to believe five members of the 2018 world junior hockey team sexually assaulted a woman after a fundraising event, according to a story published Sunday by the Globe and Mail. 

The 94-page document, which was filed and dated Oct. 17, includes a request for a judge to approve warrants and production orders as part of the police investigation into the alleged assault. Sportsnet has also obtained and reviewed the court documents.

The names of the players and their accuser have been redacted, though the woman is referred to as E.M. in the filing.

“I believe, when taking a global view of the evidence, [E.M.] subjectively believed that she had no alternative but to engage in the [specific sex act(s)]. Further, I believe that each of the suspects knew or ought to have known that [E.M.] had not consented,” wrote Sergeant David Younan, the application’s author, according to the Globe and Mail.

“This remains an open and active investigation, and as such, we cannot provide further comment,” said the London Police Service, when asked about the court filing by Sportsnet.

Another new piece of information revealed in the story is the alleged presence of “an older, well-dressed man was hanging around the hockey players,” who bought the players and E.M. drinks, while encouraging her to “take care of” the player whom she alleges invited others to have sex with her.

In the filing, this “older gentleman” is referred to as M.M. and described as an individual who is required to attend “functions such as this,” according to the Globe and Mail story. It is also revealed that this person was interviewed by police in August of 2022, but that he did not remember much.

None of the allegations have been proven in court and the players have denied any wrongdoing and claim that any sexual contact was consensual. No charges have been laid.

It was revealed in May that Hockey Canada had paid an undisclosed settlement to the woman in London, Ont., after she alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight men, including members of the 2018 men’s world junior team, in June of 2018. (Shortly after, similar allegations emerged about the 2003 men’s world junior team.)

Criticism of how Hockey Canada handled the alleged assaults have prompted an overhaul of the governing body’s leadership. Interim chair of the board Andrea Skinner resigned in early October, followed three days later by CEO Scott Smith. Hockey Canada’s board members also vacated their positions to make way for a new slate of directors. None of that occurred until after a series of parliamentary committee hearings and almost all sponsors permanently suspending further support of Hockey Canada, and eight provincial associations halting fee transfers and/or calling for wholesale changes to the organization.

Organization officials testified on Parliament Hill in July that Hockey Canada had paid out $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989, not including this year’s payout to the London plaintiff.

Revelations of a fund partly maintained by minor hockey registration fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault and abuse claims, prompted further criticism of Hockey Canada’s leadership.

— With files from Paul D. Grant and The Canadian Press

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