June 24th, 2024

Quebec major junior hockey to introduce ‘locker room code’ to prevent violent hazing

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 – The head of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League says he will introduce measures to combat the culture of silence that exists in locker rooms.

Commissioner Gilles Courteau says a “locker room code” will be in effect in time for next season and will make clear what is unacceptable behaviour.

Courteau testified today at legislature hearings in Quebec City on violence in hockey hazing rituals.

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

Courteau says none of the disturbing revelations described in the Radio-Canada report involved a QMJHL team, but he said the league should still reflect on its own culture.

Other witnesses expected today include representatives from 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.

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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