While an investigation continues into an alleged group sexual assault, members of Canada’s 2018 World Juniors roster will be ineligible to play for the national team, Hockey Canada said in a statement to TSN’s Rick Westhead on Monday.
As Hockey Canada noted in that statement, such a decision would have the most immediate impact on potential roster choices for the 2023 IIHF Men’s Hockey Championship, set to take place in Finland from May 12-28.
“Earlier this year, Hockey Canada made a decision that until the investigation and adjudicative process of the alleged incident in 2018 are complete, no players from the 2018 National Junior Team will be considered for participation for Team Canada.
This has been communicated to the management group for Team Canada at the 2023 IIHF Men’s World Championship.”
In a follow-up appearance on TSN's That’s Hockey, Westhead described this as a “calculated decision” by Hockey Canada. Westhead reasons that Hockey Canada believes it would be wiser to exclude all players from participation, rather than risk a player suiting up for Canada, only to be implicated later on.
Earlier on Monday, the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage unanimously passed a motion demanding Hockey Canada to share a final report from law firm Henein Hutchison's investigation into the sexual assault allegations. Initially, the firm’s investigation began in June 2018 and closed in September of 2020. However, the investigation resumed after news of a lawsuit and settlement emerged in May 2022.
Politicians are questioning the delay in relaying information.
MP Kevin Waugh: “Are they hiding stuff? Why is this taking so long? There’s a lack of trust with Hockey Canada right now. Everybody’s been talking about this for the past two years and there’s nothing from the NHL, or Hockey Canada on it.”@KevinWaugh_CPC
— Rick Westhead (@rwesthead) March 27, 2023
Charges allege that as many as eight players are accused of being involved in the assault, though Westhead notes that a separate (active and ongoing) investigation by London, Ont., police gave them “reasonable grounds to charge five players with sexual assault.”
Along with Hutchison’s firm and London police, the NHL is also investigating the sexual assault charges made toward members of Canada’s 2018 world juniors team.
As you can see from the full roster below, there are several NHL players and/or prospects who were on that team.
2018 Canadian world juniors roster