West Shore RCMP is investigating allegations involving a teen hockey player who apparently took, and distributed a photo of another player showering in their locker room without their consent or knowledge.
“This investigation just came into us and is in its preliminary stages,” said Cpl. Nancy Saggar, spokesperson for West Shore RCMP.
According to a hockey parent who’s been in contact with CHEK News, they say the player was photographed last week showering in their underwear. The photo was then shared to “at least 20 other people within the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association,” as well as students within School District 62.
“We were made aware of allegations of an incident occurring off school property and outside of school hours involving youth from our community. As RCMP have an ongoing investigation, the Sooke School District is unable to comment further on the allegations,” said Kristen McGillivray, communications manager with SD62.
“It could be as serious as to constitute a criminal offence,” said Michael Mulligan, a criminal lawyer.
“In Canada, we have a relatively new criminal offence which makes it a crime to take an image of somebody in a place where you could expect them to be naked, surreptitiously. That voyeurism offence also makes it a crime to distribute images you know to be taken in that way or indeed possess those images taken in that way.”
Beyond the legal implications, the incident also raises questions about hockey culture and the role of leagues and associations in ensuring player safety, something Hockey Canada has been grappling with at a national level.
“We’ve actually had various examples where there are allegations of sexual misconduct by hockey players, and questions asked about, well what kind of responsibilities does a hockey team or league have to deal with those things?” said Mulligan.
Most might think that’s something that starts and stops with the police, not the hockey team. However, Mulligan added that there are other rules and expected behaviors for those who are playing on a hockey team.
“Those kinds of decisions may be independent of whether or not what happened constitutes a crime,” he explained.
“So you’d expect the hockey team or the hockey league to deal with those kinds of allegations in terms of if that conduct is acceptable at the rink or in the changeroom,” Mulligan said.
Sexual health educators like Kerri Isham say parents should be having conversations about consent, respect, and responsible legal phone use, well before a child is even handed a phone.
“I don’t think phones have any place in a locker room, to begin with,” said Isham. “Having a phone is a privilege, not a right.”
Isham also says the Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association should take the allegations seriously.
“If the consequences are not substantial, this will escalate to another level,” warned Isham. “Athletes are supposed to be ambassadors for their community. They’re supposed to be role models for people and this thing, unfortunately, happens far too often.’
The Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association’s publically available locker room policy states that phones are not allowed in the dressing rooms and that “there will be zero tolerance for violations and suspensions may follow.”
CHEK News inquired about the association’s response, possible suspension, and whether they’d alerted West Shore RCMP. The Juan de Fuca Minor Hockey Association did not respond to CHEK News’ request for comment.
BC Hockey and Canada Hockey also didn’t respond to CHEK News’ request for comment.