Hockey Canada: 900-plus cases of on-ice discrimination

More than 900 documented or alleged incidents of on-ice discrimination like verbal taunts, insults and intimidation happened in Hockey Canada across all levels and age groups during the 2021-22 season.

The national sport organization’s first-ever report that tracks the issue shows 512 penalties for discrimination were called by officials, while 415 allegations were investigated afterward.

The 14-page document released Friday details the application of Rule 11.4, which deals specifically with discrimination, including race, language, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, genetic characteristics and disability.

The organization is still dealing with the dramatic fallout of alleged sexual assaults involving members of both the 2018 and 2003 world junior teams. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Hockey Canada said Friday’s report doesn’t reflect off-ice incidents of maltreatment, sexual violence or abuse, which starting this season will be handled by the federal government’s Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner or a new independent third-party complaint process.

The combined per capita rate of the penalized and alleged discrimination incidents stood at 0.18% of the 519,755 registered players in 2021-22.

Of the 512 penalties called by officials, 61% involved sexual orientation or gender identity, 18% involved race and 11% involved disability. More than half of those incidents came in the under-18 age bracket, while 76% occurred at the competitive level. Male players made up 99% of infractions called by officials.

When it came to allegations that weren’t witnessed by an official and required an investigation, 47% was race-related and 40% concerned sexual orientation or gender identity. The under-18 age group again led the way with 37% of incidents, while 21% occurred in under-15. Male participants accounted for 67% of allegations that warranted an investigation, and gender wasn’t provided or available in 31% of reports.

Hockey Canada’s data showed 37% of allegations initially undetected by on-ice officials eventually resulted in an “unsubstantiated” ruling, 18 per cent in suspension, 17 per cent in written warnings and 13 per cent in education, while 10 per cent ended with multiple or “other” sanctions. Five per cent remain under investigation.

Earlier this year, an independent review headed by former Canada Supreme Court judge Thomas Cromwell, into Hockey Canada’s governance concluded the federation was at a “crossroads” and called for more oversight and accountability. A vote on a new board and chair by Hockey Canada’s provincial and territorial members is slated for Dec. 17.

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