Hockey Canada's investigation of alleged 2018 group sexual assault is complete

The investigation Hockey Canada launched into high-profile allegations of group sexual assault in 2018 involving World Junior players has wrapped up, the sports organization said.

Update comes days after new details revealed about London, Ont. police probe

Hockey Canada's board of directors confirms that the investigation it commissioned is complete. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

WARNING: This article contains graphic content and may affect those who have experienced​ ​​​sexual violence or know someone affected by it.

The investigation Hockey Canada launched into high-profile allegations of group sexual assault in 2018 involving World Junior players has wrapped up, the sports organization said.

The new chair of Hockey Canada's board of directors, retired judge Hugh Fraser, released a statement saying the investigator — Henein Hutchison, a law firm known for its criminal defence work — has delivered its report on the allegations. 

The board is "still being briefed," said Fraser, adding he is not revealing what the investigation found.

The investigation will now go through a Hockey Canada adjudication process to determine "what sanction, if any, to impose" on the players allegedly involved, Fraser said in the media statement. That process will unfold out of the public eye.

"The panel is proceeding in an in camera (confidential) process," wrote Fraser in the statement given to CBC News. "As this proceeds, all information concerning the contents of the investigator's report, the adjudication, and any appeal are held in the strictest confidence."

Fraser said the process is unfolding confidentially because "we do not want to jeopardize the ongoing investigation of the London Police Service."

The update comes just days after the Globe and Mail first reported new details about the London police investigation, based on interview transcripts and search warrants the newspaper went to court to get unsealed. 

The Crown prosecutor later shared copies of those documents with CBC News that revealed London police believe they have reasonable grounds to accuse five World Junior hockey players of sexually assaulting a young woman in a London, Ont. hotel room in 2018.

The player's names were redacted from the documents and their identities have not been made public.

Judge ordered law firm to hand evidence to police

Back in October, a judge ordered Henein Hutchison to hand over to police the "fruits of the independent investigation" it conducted.

The court also ordered the law firm to provide London police with all interviews with members of the hockey team, the complainant, witnesses, coaches and staff.

Henein Hutchison's partner and lead investigator in this case, Danielle Robitaille, told a parliamentary committee in July that she had obtained a "range of evidence" after she "reached out to a number of witnesses." Robitalle also told MPs she interviewed seven coaches and staff members about the alleged incident. 

"I believe Danielle Robitaille has documents or data in her possession that would afford evidence in this case," London police wrote in their request to the judge in the fall. 

Hockey Canada's said in September that the "fruits of" the Henein Hutchison investigation were confidential but it would waive client-solicitor privilege for the "limited purpose of cooperating" with the police investigation and would comply with any judicial orders.

WATCH/ Documents reveal new details of alleged junior hockey sexual assault

Documents reveal new details about alleged junior hockey sexual assault

3 months ago
Duration 2:16
Recently filed court documents lay out why police are seeking search warrants to further their investigation into five members of the 2018 World Junior hockey team they believe were involved in an alleged sexual assault of a woman in London, Ont. None of the police allegations have been tested in court and no charges have been laid.

Hockey Canada first contacted Henein Hutchison for legal advice in June 2018, the day after a mother reported finding her daughter crying in the shower, clasping her knees and rocking back and forth after returning home from a London, Ont. hotel. She alleged she was sexually assaulted by a group of hockey players at that hotel, according to her interview with police. Her mother's husband then then contacted Hockey Canada, the court filing said.

Robitaille told MPs she advised the hockey organization to report the matter to police. Hockey Canada later commissioned that same firm to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations.

Henein Hutchison at one point closed the investigation, arguing it couldn't interview the remaining hockey players without hearing the complainant's version of events, according to parliamentary testimony by Robitalle. The investigation was later re-opened when the complainant said she would provide a detailed account of what happened, Robitaille testified.


Ashley Burke

Senior reporter

Ashley Burke is a senior reporter with the CBC's Parliamentary Bureau in Ottawa who focuses on enterprise journalism for television, radio and digital platforms. She won the prestigious Charles Lynch Award and was a finalist for the Michener Award for her exclusive reporting on the toxic workplace at Rideau Hall. She has also uncovered rampant allegations of sexual misconduct in the Canadian military. Her beats include transport, defence and federal government accountability. You can reach her confidentially by email: ashley.burke@cbc.ca or https://www.cbc.ca/securedrop/