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Bad treatment is better than good judgment, Balzac argued.

Eight hockey players, Hockey Canada and the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) rated it well. They have just reached an amicable agreement that will allow these players to avoid a trial for sexual crimes. These legal proceedings could have jeopardized their careers.

Who are these eight players?

Juan Perez 1.

Juan Perez 2.

Juan Perez 3.

Juan Perez 4.

Juan Perez 5.

Juan Perez 6.

John Perez 7.

Juan Perez 8.

This is how they are presented in the initial lawsuit, filed in April in the Superior Court of Ontario. However, we do know that several of them won the U-20 World Championship in January 2018 and attended a Hockey Canada Foundation gala in June 2018.

It was after this ceremony that the alleged events occurred. Disclaimer: The allegations, first posted by TSN’s Rick Westhead, are shocking.

The complainant claimed to have followed a hockey player into a hotel room. He was then in an advanced state of intoxication. The man and she allegedly had sexual relations. The player would then have invited the other seven hockey players into the room, without the woman’s consent. According to court documents, the players humiliated and raped her.

“At times, the complainant would cry and try to leave the room, but was manipulated and intimidated into staying, after which she was further assaulted,” the lawsuit says. The hockey players also reportedly asked her not to file a police report.

The pplayer’sversion?

You’ll probably never hear it. This is one of the main advantages of an amicable agreement. No judgment. There are no explanations to give. There are no difficult questions to answer. Also, here, avoid spreading their names. Such an agreement, I remind you, does not represent an admission of guilt.

According to TSN, the plaintiff, who claimed 3.55 million, is satisfied with the result. The CHL president told Rick Westhead that he only recently became aware of the complaint and was “notified by Hockey Canada that they have resolved the matter.” Hockey Canada, which reported the case to police in 2018, told TSN that it respects the young woman’s decision “not to name the players” and to refuse to speak “to the police or the independent investigator” of Hockey Canada.

However, that does not allay the concern. This regulation raises issues of public interest. As Radio-Canada’s Martin Leclerc points out, it certainly wasn’t resolved with “prayers and a good handshake.”

Has Hockey Canada, which is partially funded by the government, paid monetary compensation? Who within the organization knew the story from 2018? What did the leaders know? Did the hockey players who are the subject of the accusations become part of the national team afterward Are they still playing? What were the conclusions of the report commissioned from an external company?

At the moment, we don’t have all the answers.

And I’m afraid that without a trial, we’ll never get them.

The culture of silence is strong in Canadian hockey. This is also one of the main conclusions of the committee created by the CHL, in 2020, to document the practices of hazing, abuse, harassment,  and intimidation in its three major leagues, including the QMJHL. A class action has also been launched against the CHL and its teams for “systemic abuses suffered by young players.” Among the charges: were widespread hazing, homophobia, and physical and sexual violence.

After contacting more than 500 people, Danièle Sauvageau, Sheldon Kennedy, and former New Brunswick Prime Minister Camille Thériault argued that “there is reprehensible behavior outside of the ice,” and that “the culture of the system that reigns within The league has ensured that these behaviors have become a cultural norm.

The committee added: “Mistreatment that, outside of hockey, would not be acceptable is now an ingrained behavior in this hierarchical organization, and its acceptance rate is high. If the degree of acceptance is so great, it is because for years no one dared to say anything. Why in hockey we don’t like conflict unless it’s to hit an opponent’s chin in a fight.

Dozens of players explained to the committee the reasons for their silence. Quotes

“I wanted to have some ice time. »

“I didn’t want an NHL team to look down on me. »

“I wanted my older peers to continue to respect me. »

“Who do you want me to tell, except my mother?” »

Hockey and transparency hardly go hand in hand. And sadly, it is not with an amicable settlement, that allows history to be swept under the rug, that we are going to end this systemic culture of omerta in youth hockey.

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