KEY POINTS

  • The NHL is investigating an allegation that eight Canadian Hockey League players sexually assaulted a woman in 2018
  • The league said it will determine whether any action needs to be taken against any current NHL players
  • Hockey Canada recently reached a settlement with the woman who filed the lawsuit against the players

Hockey Canada reached a settlement with a woman who alleged in a lawsuit that she was sexually assaulted by multiple Canadian Hockey League players. However, this does not mean that the players are in the clear.

On Thursday, the National Hockey League (NHL) announced that it is investigating the facts of the lawsuit, which alleged that eight Canadian Hockey League players, including members of Canada's gold-medal-winning 2017-18 World Junior team, sexually assaulted the unnamed woman in June 2018. 

In an official statement, the league said it will determine whether any action needs to be taken against any current NHL players.

“Two days ago, the National Hockey League was advised of a lawsuit involving sexual allegations filed against eight unnamed members of the 2018 Canadian World Junior hockey team. We were subsequently provided with the Statement of Claim, containing allegations of behavior that is both abhorrent and reprehensible. We will endeavor to determine the underlying facts and, to the extent this may involve players who are now in the NHL, we will determine what action, if any, would be appropriate. We will have no further comment at this time,” the NHL stated.

None of the allegations against the players have been proven in court, CBC News reported.

Hockey Canada said in a statement that the woman who made the allegations chose not to speak with police or Hockey Canada’s independent investigator. She also preferred not to identify any of the accused players, the league said.

Her lawsuit, filed on April 20, listed the eight players as numbered John Does but said they were "members of the CHL and Hockey Canada, including but not limited to members of the Canada U20 Men's Junior Hockey Team."

The eight players were in town for the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf event on June 18, 2018, in London, Ontario, The Athletic reported. They all went to the Jack’s Yard restaurant and bar at some point.

The woman, who is now 24, arrived at the bar at around 11 p.m. that night. She met one of the players, John Doe 1, who, in turn, introduced him to some of his teammates.

After being bought shots and other alcoholic beverages, the woman said she got separated from her friends and became drunk.

She said that she went back to John Doe 1's hotel room and "engaged in sexual acts" with him before he invited the seven other hockey players into the room without her knowledge or consent.

The woman alleged that the players directed her to engage in sexual acts with them and "pressured her from leaving the room when she tried to."

The lawsuit said that "no consent would be possible owing to her level of intoxication" and that the woman was crying and intimidated into staying in the room during the alleged assaults.

Hockey Canada failed to address "institutionalized and systemic abuse within its organization and failed to have a system of reporting abuse by its players and employees," the lawsuit alleged. It also accused the league of failing to remove the players from the team and notify police.

However, Hockey Canada said that it "contacted local police authorities" as soon as it became aware of the allegations and hired a law firm to conduct an internal investigation.

The woman's lawyer, Rob Tallach, told CBC News that the woman "is satisfied with the outcome and relieved that this difficult matter has been concluded."

"She has nothing further to add and, consistent with her expressed wishes and behavior throughout, requests that her privacy and desire not to be identified continued to be respected," the attorney added.

Most of the members of Canada's men's 2017-18 World Junior team are now on the rosters of NHL teams, according to CBC News.

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