June 23rd, 2024

Quebec legislature holds hearings today on violent, sexual hazing in hockey

By The Canadian Press on February 22, 2023.

Gilles Courteau, in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 27, 2022. A Quebec legislative committee is beginning a one-day hearing to investigate violence during hockey hazing rituals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Quebec’s legislature is holding hearings today on violence in hockey hazing rituals and the possibility that similar practices exist in other sports.

The legislature is studying the issue after a recent Ontario court decision revealed disturbing details of sexual assault and torture suffered by teenage hockey players in Canada’s three major junior hockey leagues.

Witnesses today include representatives from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Canadian Hockey League, the umbrella organization for the country’s three major junior leagues.

A representative of McGill University, which suspended its football program for a year in 2005 after a student was sexually assaulted with a broom handle during a hazing party, is also scheduled to testify.

The university, which has been asked to speak about past hazing incidents, had initially refused to testify but changed course Tuesday amid criticism from the province’s opposition parties.

Earlier this month, Ontario Superior Court Justice Paul Perell accepted evidence that former players suffered “horrific and despicable and unquestionably criminal acts” at the hands of teammates and staff during initiations. However, he denied a request to certify a class-action lawsuit against the hockey leagues and their teams.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.

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