Thunder Bay police are investigating a complaint of a sexual assault which was believed to have taken place on the weekend of Feb. 1, when the University of Ottawa hockey team was in Thunder Bay for a scheduled Ontario University Athletics division game.
The University of Ottawa Gee Gees played the Lakehead University Thunderwolves in Thunder Bay on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Thunder Bay Police report the service became aware of the complaint on Tuesday, Feb. 25, through a third party. City police are being assisted by Ottawa Police Service in the investigation and are following up with involved parties, they said.
“We will not disclose any further details which could identify the individuals involved in this incident or jeopardize the investigation,” said police in a press release on Monday. They added this investigation is in its initial stages.
The announcement of the investigation comes the same day the University of Ottawa said it has suspended its men's varsity hockey program over allegations of "serious misconduct."
The university said the allegations involving some members of the team date back several weeks, but senior management in the University's Sports Services department was only made aware from a third party on Feb. 24, according to a news release. The university reported the incident to police on Feb. 25.
"The university has high expectations of all our students and staff. The alleged misconduct is not in keeping with the values that are at the heart of athletics and student life on campus," the release said.
The University of Ottawa said it has launched an internal review. It also stated in a news release that it will "cooperate fully" with any police investigation.
No other details about the allegations were immediately available.
Patrick Charette, the university's director of corporate communications, said during a brief news conference at 2:30 p.m. the school would not provide any other details on the allegations or the school's investigation, citing privacy concerns and a concurrent police investigation.
Thunder Bay Police are asking anyone with information contact them at 807-684-1200 or Ottawa Police's sexual assault unit at 613-236-1222 ext.5944 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).