Canadian Hockey League appoints panelists to review abuse allegations
KITCHENER -- The Canadian Hockey League has appointed three people to its independent review panel investigating policies and allegations of hazing and abuse within the league.
The league has named former New Brunswick Premier Camille Thériault as chair of the panel. Panelists include Sheldon Kennedy and Danièle Sauvageau.
“The CHL is committed to the 1,400 young men who play in our league and the protection of our players has been and will always be our primary concern,” CHL President Dan MacKenzie said in a news release. “This is why we have assembled this Independent Review Panel to review the effectiveness of our current policies, player experience programs and procedures for reporting off-ice misconduct, to help ensure that we are providing the safest environment free of hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying.”
The panel comes in response to hazing allegations from former Kitchener Ranger Eric Guest.
Guest posted a 15-minute video on his Instagram account last month, saying he was speaking out because he wasn't planning to pursue a career in the National Hockey League. In the video, Guest alleged an older teammate made Guest and another teammate do cocaine in a bathroom at a party.
On July 8, the Waterloo Regional Police Service said its investigation into the allegations had ended.
"Investigators spoke with Guest and he did not wish to proceed with any criminal investigation," a police spokesperson said in an email at the time.
The CHL had also launched an investigation into Guest's allegations.
Days after Guest came forward with his story on Instagram, a class action lawsuit led by former Sarnia Sting player Daniel Carcillo was announced.
None of the allegations made by Guest or Carcillo have been tested in court.
The CHL said it's developed several programs to protect its players, including policies and practices educating players and staff on hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying.
“As a former member of the Université de Moncton Aigles Bleus and lifelong hockey fan, I can attest to the fact that hockey, at all levels, is a key part of Canadian culture,” Thériault said in a release. "I look forward to working with my fellow panel members to review the CHL’s policies and practices to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all players.”
Kennedy played in the Western Hockey League and the NHL and is well-known for speaking about abuse in sport.
Sauvageau has experience in investigation, public safety, high level sport, business and sport coaching.
The CHL said it wants a report from the panel before the start of next season.