Police open investigations into Canadian junior teams

Jul 22, 2022, 3:54 AM | Updated: 3:56 pm

TORONTO (AP) — Alleged group sexual assaults by members of the 2003 and 2018 Canadian world junior hockey teams are being investigated by police in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and London, Ontario.

Halifax Regional Police confirmed Friday that it is investigating an assault at the 2003 junior championships. Shortly afterward, police officials in London said they are reopening their investigation into a 2018 incident.

The investigations are the latest developments in an ongoing crisis that has rocked Hockey Canada and led to its funding being suspended by the federal government and several major corporate sponsors.

“Today we learn of yet another horror story that allegedly occurred in 2003. Once again, like all Canadians, I am appalled and angry,” Canadian Sport Minister Pascal St-Onge said. “It is clear that the culture of silence and the trivialization of sexual violence is well entrenched in the culture of this sport.

“Hockey Canada has a lot of work to do on this issue before they regain the trust of Canadians. Anyone with information about the events of 2003, or any other such event, should report it to the police.”

Hockey Canada said it became aware of the 2003 incident after it was contacted by TSN on Thursday seeking comment. The national sport organization said it immediately contacted Sport Canada and Halifax police.

“Hockey Canada is committed to bringing an end to the culture of silence in hockey,” Hockey Canada said a statement Friday. “That is why we are publicly calling for anyone with knowledge of this incident to come forward to police, and we are being transparent in how we learned of this alleged assault and the steps we are taking to address it.”

Hockey Canada said that two weeks earlier members of its staff heard a rumor about “something bad at the 2003 world juniors” but was not able to get any details until it was contacted by TSN on Thursday.

MP John Nater said he was contacted by a person earlier this week with information regarding an alleged sexual assault involving members of the 2003 national junior team. He said he forwarded the information to Halifax police and encouraged the person to contact police directly.

TSN reports that a source contacted Nater and described a video of the alleged sexual assault to the MP. TSN spoke to the source and two others who have watched the video and all three corroborate that it shows approximately six players from Canada’s junior team having sex with a woman who was non-responsive and laying face up on the pool table.

One of the three sources told TSN that one of the players from the 2003 team had borrowed a video camera during the tournament in Halifax and the graphic recording was still on the camera when it was returned. That person said they were pressured by the players to delete the video and that they never reported it to police.

Carlo Colaiacovo, who played defense for Canada’s junior team in 2003, issued a statement Friday.

“As a member of that team, it is important that everyone is aware that I had no involvement or knowledge of any incidents whatsoever,” Colaiacovo said. “I will co-operate fully with any investigations.”

P-A Parenteau, a forward on the team, told The Canadian Press that he only learned about the alleged sexual assault on Friday. He said that he was “definitely not involved” and that the allegations are “a shock.”

Colaiacovo and Parenteau are two of 21 players from the silver-medal 2003 team that went on to play in the NHL.

Hockey Canada has already had funding from the federal government and corporate sponsors paused following allegations of a sexual assault involving eight members of the 2018 men’s junior hockey team.

Those allegations came to light after it was reported by media that Hockey Canada paid out an undisclosed settlement to the complainant after she sued the organization, the Canadian Hockey League, and the eight unnamed players. The woman was seeking $3.55 million.

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