Canada’s sports minister said Tuesday that hockey culture needs to change, amid reports that two former Quebec Junior Hockey League players have been accused of sexual assault.
Pascale St-Onge told reporters in Ottawa that everyone involved in hockey — including teams, parents and provincial associations — must do more to prevent sexual violence.
Her comments came shortly after CBC first reported that two former QMJHL players and another young man were accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl in Drummondville, about 100 kilometers northeast of Montreal, in 2016.
“Every time we hear these stories, we’re terrified,” St-Onge said. “These aren’t stories we like to hear, but I think everyone understands that it’s not an anecdote, it’s really part of the culture that’s ingrained in the hockey world.” part.”
Players need more education about consent and a healthy sexual lifestyle, she added.
The QMJHL said Tuesday that it only recently learned of the 2016 assault involving two former Drummondville Voltigeurs players and another youth, adding that the league would cooperate with the judicial process and any further police investigations.
“Our first thoughts are with the alleged victim, and we remain very sensitive about her situation,” the league said in a statement. “This explains why the league will continue to fulfill its important mission of raising awareness and educating players about sexual misconduct and its consequences.”
Two of the defendants – who were minors at the time of the incident and cannot be named – have pleaded guilty to sexual assault in juvenile court, Radio-Canada said. A third defendant, former Voltigeurs player Noah Corson, is scheduled to return to court in Drummondville in June, the broadcaster said.
When asked about the allegations, Corson’s agent, Nick Riopel, said he would not comment on the matter, citing ongoing legal proceedings.
The Quebec prosecutor’s office and Corson’s current team, the Adirondack Thunder, did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Corson is the son of former Montreal Canadiens player Shayne Corson.