Panel finds ‘unspoken code of silence’ enables off-ice misconduct in CHL

Panel finds 'unspoken code of silence' enables off-ice misconduct in CHL
Photo credit: Nathanaël Desmeules/Unsplash

A newly released report has found that bullying, harassment and discrimination exists in the Canadian Hockey League and that off-ice misconduct is a “cultural norm.”

The league, which includes the Western Hockey League, the Ontario Hockey League and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, tasked an independent panel with reviewing the CHL‘s policies and practices around hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying in July 2020.

The panel – chaired by former New Brunswick premier Camille Theriault and including former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and former Canadian women’s hockey team coach Daniele Sauvageau – submitted its report to the CHL in December 2020 but the league did not make it public until Friday.

The report says “an unspoken code of silence” enables misconduct to continue and prevents athletes from disclosing their experiences, and that maltreatment can have long-lasting psychological impacts on players.

The report makes 13 recommendations and says the league must make behavioural, structural and policy changes to promote player safety.

The CHL said in a statement Friday that the majority of the report’s recommendations have been implemented or are in the process of being implemented.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2022.

The Canadian PressThe Canadian Press

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