News·FIFTH ESTATE

Players from Canada's 2018 world junior hockey team respond to investigation of alleged sexual assault

Up to eight men, some or all of whom may have been on Canada's 2018 world junior hockey team, have been accused of taking part in an alleged group sexual assault following the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala in June 2018 in London, Ont. The Fifth Estate has collected public statements by all team members and Hockey Canada, which has reopened its third-party inquiry into the alleged incident.

The Fifth Estate has collected published statements from all former team members

On Jan. 5, 2018, Team Canada won gold in the IIHF world junior championships in Buffalo. Unproven allegations in a civil lawsuit say some players from the team were involved in an alleged June 2018 gang sex assault. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Many of the members of Team Canada who won gold at the 2018 IIHF world junior championships have made public statements regarding an alleged sexual assault that is under investigation by police, Hockey Canada and the NHL.

Up to eight men, some or all of whom may have been on that team, have been accused of taking part in an alleged group sexual assault following the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala in June 2018 in London, Ont. 

The Fifth Estate has collected public statements by team members from a variety of sources, including social media, the players' agents and other media outlets, as well as a statement provided by Hockey Canada, which has reopened its third-party inquiry into the alleged incident.

The Fifth Estate's documentary, "The Anatomy of a Scandal," can be viewed on CBC-TV at 9 p.m Thursday or streamed on CBC Gem.

Drake Batherson

"I've been co-operating with the ongoing investigations. Out of respect for the person involved, I'm not going to be making a comment on it now or in the future," Batherson told reporters at the Ottawa Senators training camp on Sept. 22.

He responded "no comment" to two followup questions.

Jake Bean, Carter Hart, Colton Point, Kale Clague, Jordan Kyrou, Taylor Raddysh

Toronto lawyer Scott Fenton wrote to Global News saying he represents these six players.

"None of the players you reference engaged in any wrongdoing, all of the players co-operated fully with the independent London Police Service investigation in 2018, and all players were then cleared of any wrongdoing.

"Naming any of these players now, or attempting to associate any of them in any way with alleged criminal wrongdoing, or alleging that they were not co-operative with the London police or willing to co-operate with Hockey Canada will constitute materially false statements constituting defamation causing serious financial and reputational harm," Fenton wrote to Global News.

Kale Clague

"As a member of the 2018 Canadian world yunior hockey team, I feel it is important to state I was not in attendance at the Hockey Canada Gala, nor was I in London, Ontario, on the day that the incident is alleged to have occurred. 

"Should my help be requested by those investigating this matter, I am fully prepared to co-operate in any way I can. 

"Given the ongoing investigation I will not be providing any further comments at this time," Clague posted on Twitter.

Maxime Comtois

"I am aware of the allegations of sexual abuse made against some of my former teammates on the Canadian world junior hockey team. The allegations are deeply troubling, and I am co-operating with investigators to help as much as I can. I was not involved in any way with the alleged abuse, and, as far as I know, no one has ever suggested otherwise. Out of respect for the investigation, I do not intend to offer further comment," Comtois posted on Twitter.

A lawyer representing Comtois also wrote to The Fifth Estate that "since then, [Comtois] has co-operated with the various investigations."

Hockey Canada has reopened its third-party investigation into the allegations from 2018. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Dillon Dubé

"All of CBC News' questions will be asked and answered during the pending NHL investigation. Dillon did not engage in any wrongdoing, and he co-operated fully with the independent London Police Service investigation in 2018, through which all players were then cleared of any wrongdoing. 

"Naming Dillon or attempting to associate him in any way with alleged criminal wrongdoing, or alleging that he was not co-operative with the London police or was unwilling to co-operate with Hockey Canada, will constitute materially false statements constituting defamation causing serious financial and reputational harm," David Cowan, agent for Dubé wrote to CBC.

In a Sept. 23 media appearance, Dubé told a Sportsnet columnist that "I've co-operated in any way possible and will continue co-operating. I've done everything I can to co-operate."

"I will continue to do that. With it going on, I wish I could share more, but that's kind of all I can share up to this point," Dubé said.

He added to his statement the next day:

"With (the investigation) going on, I wish I could share more. But that's all I can share to this point. I would love to be transparent. I know that's all I can really say on it to be honest. For me, I wish I could tell."

Dante Fabbro

Fabbro's agent J.P Barry told Global News his client "was asleep in his own room in a different part of the hotel that evening and was not involved in with the alleged incident that was investigated by Henein Hutchison" and that Fabbro "fully co-operated" with that probe.

Cal Foote 

Foote's agent Kurt Overhardt told Global News his client was not involved in the alleged sexual assault.

Alex Formenton

No statement as of Sept. 27.

Jonah Gadjovich

"The events described in the story are serious and reprehensible. Jonah was not involved in the incident and does not have any comment on legal proceedings and the settlement involving other parties," his agent Jason Harshaw wrote to CBC.

Hockey Canada's iconic logo has long been a feature of national team sweaters. (Albert Leung/CBC)

Brett Howden

"I had absolutely no interaction, verbally or physically, with the complainant, which I explained fully to the Hockey Canada investigator. There has never been any suggestion that I am accused of any wrongdoing in the matter, but given the blanket condemnation of the players on that team in the media, I want to make it publicly very clear that I was not involved," Howden wrote in a statement provided to CBC by his agent. 

Boris Katchouk

"Boris has fully co-operated with the Hockey Canada investigation and will continue to provide that co-operation in any further investigation. Beyond this statement we are not commenting further," a representative wrote to Global News. 

Jordan Kyrou

"As a member of the 2018 world junior team, I am aware of allegations made against certain members of that team. 

"I want to clearly state I did not attend the Hockey Canada Gala and was not in London, Ontario, at the time of the alleged incident. I am prepared to co-operate with any additional investigations in the future if necessary. 

"Given the ongoing investigations, I will not provide any further public comments," Kyrou posted on Twitter.

Cale Makar

"I was not involved in any way. I was totally unaware of the allegations until I — along with the rest of the team — was contacted by investigators in the weeks following the event in London. I met in person with the investigators in the summer of 2018 and answered all their questions. I did not know any of the details until I saw the article this week," Makar said in a statement provided to CBC. 

Michael McLeod

"I am aware of the situation in 2018 and the investigation and I've been co-operative through the entire investigation and process, but since it's still ongoing, I'm unable to comment any further," McLeod told NJ.com.

Lawyer Andrew Winton sits alongside Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith, centre, and CFO Brian Cairo, right, during parliamentary hearings in Ottawa in July. They spoke to the committee to explain steps Hockey Canada took to respond to the complaint in 2018. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Victor Mete

"There has been a great deal of news coverage of a legal settlement between Hockey Canada and the complainant in a sexual assault lawsuit on the night of a gala event and medal presentation ceremony held in June 2018, in London, Ontario.

"Since the eight men identified in the lawsuit have not been named, the incident has left an unfortunate cloud over every player who was on the Canadian team that had won a gold medal at the world junior championship six months earlier, in January 2018.

"I believe it is important for me to state that I was not present at the gala event celebration when this appalling event occurred. At the time, I was away on vacation with family and friends in Jamaica and only learned of the situation recently through media reports.

"I am deeply troubled by reports of this incident and should my help be requested by those investigating this matter, I will fully co-operate in any way I can," Mete posted on Twitter.

Colton Point

"As a member of the 2018 world junior team, I first became aware of allegations made against certain members of that team back in 2019.

"At that time, I co-operated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation. I was not in any way involved in the alleged incident and I am prepared to co-operate with any additional investigations in the future. Given the ongoing investigations, I will not provide any further public comments," Point posted on Twitter.

Taylor Raddysh

"As a member of the 2018 world junior team, I first became aware of allegations made against certain members of that team back in 2019.

"At that time, I co-operated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation. I was not in any way involved in the alleged incident and I am prepared to co-operate with any additional investigations in the future.

"Given the ongoing investigations, I will not provide any further public comments," Raddysh posted on Twitter.

Sam Steel

"Sam Steel did not engage in any of the misconduct that has been described in the media, and as far as I know, no one has alleged that he did so. 

"Sam has co-operated with every investigation into the matter, and he intends to continue to co-operate. 

"Both the NHL and Hockey Canada are planning to investigate further, and while that is ongoing, Sam can't comment further, so please respect that process," said a statement posted on The Sports Corporation's Instagram page, attributed to the company's president and CEO, Gerry Johannson.

Tyler Steenbergen

"I am aware of the allegations made against some members of the 2018 Canadian world junior hockey team. 

"Given the blanket condemnation of my former teammates, I want to make it clear I was not involved in any sexual acts with the complainant, nor did I have any interaction with the complainant, which I explained to the Hockey Canada investigator. 

"I will co-operate with the NHL and London Police Service investigation, as I did with the Hockey Canada investigation," Steenbergen posted on Twitter.

Parents of young hockey players have been speaking out to ask what more Hockey Canada can do to address the concerns raised during recent parliamentary hearings. (Heather Gillis/CBC)

Robert Thomas

"I am aware of the allegations made against some of the members of the 2018 Canadian world junior hockey team in London, Ontario, in June of 2018. 

"It is important for me to share with you my response to these allegations. 

"I had no involvement in, nor did I witness, the alleged incident. I look forward to co-operating with the NHL investigation as well as any other investigation if appropriate and as required. I will not be making any further public comments at this time," Thomas posted on Twitter

An agent for Thomas also told The Fifth Estate that the player would not be making any further comment.

Conor Timmins

"I am aware of the allegations made against some of the members of the 2018 Canadian world junior hockey team at the London, Ontario, gala event in June of 2018. 

"I was not involved in any way in the incident that gave rise to the allegations that have been reported. No one alleges that I was present or involved and I have no personal knowledge of what occurred. 

"I co-operated fully with the initial Hockey Canada investigation and will continue to co-operate in any other investigations as required. 

"As investigations are ongoing, I will not be commenting further on the matter," Quartexx Hockey, an agency that represents Conor Timmins, posted on its Twitter account.

Hockey Canada

"Hockey Canada recognizes that all members of the 2018 national junior team should be required to participate in the independent third-party investigation into the alleged sexual assault perpetrated by members of the team. As announced on July 14, Hockey Canada has reopened its investigation and will require all players to participate. Those who do not will be banned from all Hockey Canada activities and programs immediately. In addition, the London Police Service has reopened its investigation.

"With that in mind, it is inaccurate to suggest the previous decision not to require participation was in any way influenced by player status or careers. The fact is that in 2018, Hockey Canada's code of conduct did not permit the organization to compel participation. Recent amendments to the Code have remedied this. Furthermore, and in line with Ms. [Danielle] Robitaille's evidence at the Heritage Committee, no player provided a blanket refusal, but rather, several had advised they would participate after the London Police Service's investigation was complete. 

"Hockey Canada takes any allegation of sexual assault very seriously. Any information we have received about an alleged assault has been immediately reported to the relevant authorities. It would be entirely false to report that Hockey Canada has known about any form of sexual assault or abuse without reporting it to the police.  As previously reported, Hockey Canada is aware of two alleged group sexual assaults involving national junior team members (in 2003 and 2018). In both instances, Hockey Canada immediately reported these allegations to local police, as well as Sport Canada. As an additional step, Hockey Canada also initiated independent third-party investigations into both incidents."

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