NHL's investigation into alleged Hockey Canada sexual assault 'closer to the end'

NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. (John Woods/CP via AP)

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.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the league's investigation into an alleged sexual assault in 2018 involving members of Hockey Canada's world junior team is "closer to the end of the road."

"Our investigators are almost done with the players. We’ve gotten full cooperation, by the way, from all the member players of that squad," Daly said during an interview Tuesday on Sportsnet 650's Halford & Brough.

"There are some additional witnesses that our investigators want to follow up with," Daly added. "So, we’re not at the end of that road yet, but we’ve been making material progress on a consistent basis."

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 in June 2018.

In May 2022, Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit by the woman, which was filed in London, Ont., on April 20.

Many of the players from Canada's U20 men's team are now playing in the NHL. When asked during NHL training camps about their involvement, several of those players have declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigations being conducted by Hockey Canada, the NHL, and the London police.

When asked what jurisdiction the NHL has over the incident, Daly replied: "Obviously, we have the ability under the CBA in this case to discipline for conduct off the ice that is deemed to be detrimental to the sport of hockey and to the National Hockey League specifically."

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.

Daly refused to comment on "how Hockey Canada has handled it to this point."

"That’s kind of their business, not ours," Daly said. "Having said that, I do think we feel, as the National Hockey League, we do have a responsibility as the foremost professional hockey league in the world to lead and to police, in certain respects, the culture of the game. Make sure it’s healthy and inclusive."

Daly said the results of the NHL's investigation "will be made public," though he was unable to say "exactly what form that will take."

On Tuesday, Hockey Canada's interim chair of the board, Andrea Skinner, appeared before a Parliament's Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage and defended the sport body's leadership, stating that the board “frankly does not share the view that senior leadership should be replaced on the basis of what we consider to be substantial misinformation and unduly cynical attacks.”

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