Hockey Canada, police must answer questions about sex assault investigation of world junior players, MPs say

Newly unsealed court documents used by police to justify accusing five world junior hockey players of sexual assault in London, Ont., raise more questions about how the initial investigation was conducted and how Hockey Canada reacted, politicians and women's advocates say. 

WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence

Unsealed documents reveal new details about an investigation to reopen a sexual assault case in London, Ont., against five members of the Canadian world junior hockey team. (Andrew Lupton/CBC)

Newly unsealed court documents used by police to justify accusing five world junior hockey players of sexual assault in London, Ont., raise more questions about how the initial investigation was conducted and how Hockey Canada reacted, politicians and women's advocates say.

"It's time to come clean. Canadians are listening and we're all fed up with this nonsense," Karen Vecchio, Conservative MP for Elgin—Middlesex—London, said in an interview when asked to comment on the documents.

The 94-page court document package includes interview transcripts and search warrant requests pertaining to a police investigation into the alleged group sexual assault of a woman by world junior hockey players in a London hotel in 2018. 

The documents were provided to CBC News by Crown counsel on Sunday after the Globe and Mail first reported on them.

They include details of how the morning of June 19, 2018, unfolded from the complainant's perspective, as well as her claims about being sexually assaulted by five players after having consensual sex with one of them.

The documents reveal why the London Police Service (LPS) claims it had reasonable grounds to accuse the five players of sexual assault after it closed the investigation in 2018 and reopened it in 2022. 

None of the police allegations have been proven in court and no charges have been laid.

What changed to merit reopening investigation?

Vecchio is calling on the LPS to explain why officers chose to reopen the investigation after dismissing it four years earlier. 

"That's really getting me right now ... What's different now that wasn't investigated then?" she said. "I think there needs to be some transparency there, and I'm asking [the police] to stand up and share publicly what they have done."

The initial investigation in 2018 took eight months and was closed without charges. In July 2022, police Chief Steve Williams said the case was being reopened due to significant public interest.

Peter Fragiskatos, Liberal MP for London North Centre, echoed Vecchio's concerns. 

"This entire situation, it's extremely concerning. What's being alleged should shock the conscience of not just Londoners, but all Canadians," he said in an interview. "I understand they are allegations at this point, but [they are] allegations that deserve to be looked into."

'The older gentleman,' bar staff and bystanders

The court documents reveal an older man at the bar poured drinks into the complainant's mouth while encouraging her to "take care of" the player who later invited players to his hotel room where the alleged sexual assault was said to have taken place. 

After the alleged sexual assault was reported to police, someone from Hockey Canada called the junior hockey player to warn him that police were getting involved, the documents show. 

"There's multiple points of intervention at the bar, at the hotel, and later on in the policing context that were missed," said Annalise Trudell, education director at Anova, a London agency that provides services and support for people affected by abuse and sexual violence.

The identity of the older man and his connection to the junior hockey players are unknown, but raise concerns among Trudell and others.

Bar staff as well as patrons could have intervened if the complainant was visibly drunk, Trudell added. 

"The intention is to create vulnerability within her," she said. "The taxi driver had a responsibility, the hotel staff had a responsibility. If someone is drunk and being led to a hotel room, they're likely going to be doing something they wouldn't do [normally]."

Jack's bar in downtown London, Ont. was were the victim allegedly met the hockey players on June 19, 2018.
Jack's bar in downtown London, Ont., where the complainant says she met world junior hockey players on June 19, 2018. (Amanda Margison/ CBC News)

There is still much work to be done in terms of education and accountability, said Jennifer Dunn, executive director of the London Abused Women's Centre. 

"Boys and men really do need help to learn to overcome [the mentality that leads to cases like this], and education and awareness are key," said Dunn. 

Older adults who may have a clearer grasp on what is right and wrong — including the older man at the bar mentioned in the court documents — are responsible in situations like this, Dunn said. 

"That's one of the most disturbing things that I've read in this story," she said.

Ultimately, a culture change is needed within sports, as well as the broader community, if sexual assaults are to be prevented, Dunn and Trudell said. 

If you or someone you know has experienced or is experiencing sexual or domestic violence, supports are available. Locally, the London Abused Women's Centre and Anova are available for those in need. You can access crisis lines and local support services through this government of Canada website or the Ending Violence Association of Canada database. ​​If you're in immediate danger or fear for your safety or that of others around you, please call 911. 


Alessio Donnini


Alessio is a multimedia journalist, and a London, Ont. native. Since graduating from Fanshawe College's Broadcast Journalism program, he's worked in markets from Toronto to Windsor. He lives for telling stories about social issues and covering breaking news. Alessio can be heard on weekday afternoons reading the news for Afternoon Drive. In his free time, he can be found enjoying a good book, watching a documentary, or learning to cook a new recipe.

With files from Amanda Margison and Angela McInnes