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NHL To Release Findings From Investigation Of Sexual Assault Allegations In Hockey Canada

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DENVER, COLO.-NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said the league will release its findings after the investigation of eight players allegedly involved in a 2018 sexual assault incident is completed.

“Unless the only access we have to certain information would prohibit us from doing that, but in the normal course of business we try to be transparent,” Bettman said.

The players were not in the NHL at the time. They were members of the Canadian junior world hockey team that year celebrated at a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London.

“We have been in contact with the (NHL) Players Association. They have been extremely cooperative thus far in facilitating and arranging interviews with each of the players,” said NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly. “We expect to be able to interview all the players on that team. And we’ve also been in touch with Hockey Canada. So it’s underway.”

Bettman said the league only became aware of the incident after TSN reported a settlement in the matter filed on April 20.

“We didn’t know about it until then,” Bettman said. “And again, as we conduct the investigation, you have allegations from one anonymous party against eight anonymous parties. This is a challenging situation.”

The allegations against the players were never proven in court and none of the defendants filed a response. The plaintiff asked a judge to award $3.55 million. The amount of the settlement is unknown.

But the settlement raised eyebrows in Ottawa and is now the subject of an investigation by the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage. Outgoing Hockey Canada CEO Tom Renney, President and COO Scott Smith, Former Hockey Canada Risk Management Director Glen McCurdie, and David Andrews, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Hockey Canada Foundation, will be asked to appear before the committee Monday to be made public in a session.

Hockey Canada has said no taxpayers’ money was involved in the settlement.

Bettman and Daly made their comments Wednesday, hours before the puck fell in the Stanley Cup final.

Gary Bettman and Bill Daly spoke to media on Wednesday, hours before the puck fell in the Stanley Cup final.

Bettman painted a rosy picture of a league going “back to normal” by putting the pandemic behind them and just two or three years away from a significant annual salary cap hike, set at $82.5 million next year (U.S. ).

Hockey revenues are expected to exceed $5.2 billion for the first time in league history. The 2022-23 season starts on October 11.

“That all sounds pretty normal and normal after the past two and a half years feels pretty good,” Bettman said.

Some highlights:

No cup for Russia

Daly said the Stanley Cup would not accompany players to Russia or Belarus this year, the NHL’s response to Russia’s war against Ukraine, aided by Belarus. The Lightning and Avalanche have players from Russia and each player traditionally gets a day.

“We have already warned both clubs for this summer: the Cup will not go to Russia,” said Daly. “So as far as we’re going to have a Cup trip in the future, it could happen just like we did with the pandemic. But it’s not happening this summer.”

No games in Quebec City

Before he died, Senator owner Eugene Melnyk had begun investigating whether his team could play a few games in Quebec. The idea is off the table now that the team is in the hands of his two daughters.

“The franchise is completely stable and functioning,” Bettman said. “And I know the Senators are involved in a process to see what the opportunity is for a new arena in LeBreton Flats.” That’s much closer to downtown Ottawa than the current ice rink in the Kanata suburb.

World Cup Goal

The league continues to work towards a World Cup of Hockey in 2024, preferably in February. Some European leagues have timing issues.

LTIR intact

The league’s board will not discuss changes in how teams place players on the long-term injured reserve, a collective bargaining relief tool some believe is being used to sign players into the regular season.

“As the facts developed over the season, I think the fears that have been in the media regarding how the cap is being manipulated have not materialized,” Daly said. “The fact is that our regular season is so important, the clubs don’t have the luxury to really mess with the rosters.”

Kane research

The league is having trouble scheduling its arbitrator to rule on the legitimacy of San Jose canceling Evander Kane’s contract mid-season for violating COVID protocols regarding travel. It probably won’t be resolved until the free agency opens on July 13, a potential problem for the Sharks’ salary cap.

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