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Trudeau Rips Hockey Canada in Wake of Damning Slush Fund Report

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau strongly condemned his country’s hockey governing board Tuesday in the wake of a report it used a slush fund to quietly settle claims of sexual assault.

Earlier Tuesday, The Globe and Mail published an extensive investigative report detailing the existence of the fund, which was financed by player registration fees.

“Right now, it’s hard for anyone in Canada to have faith or trust in anyone at Hockey Canada,” Trudeau said. “What we’re learning today is absolutely unacceptable.”

The Globe and Mail reported that the fund, which has existed with little oversight to this point, has exceeded $15 million in recent years. The newspaper also reported the fund can be used at the discretion of Hockey Canada and “can be deployed to pay out-of-court settlements without being subject to the scrutiny or controls an insurance claim would require.”

Beyond a general tone of disgust, Trudeau said he was especially upset by the report from the perspective of a hockey parent.

“A few years ago I had my son in hockey, and when I think about the culture that is apparently permeating the highest orders of that organization, I can understand why so many parents, so many Canadians who take such pride in our national winter sport, are absolutely disgusted,” Trudeau said.

In a statement, Hockey Canada acknowledged the existence of a “National Equity Fund” and said the fund will be assessed as part of the reopening of an investigation into an alleged sexual assault by members of Canada’s national junior team in 2018.

Hockey Canada requires players, from youths all the way to the senior level, to pay $23.80 for membership. That cost covers insurance and administration, but the body doesn’t mention that some of the funds are used to settle sexual assault claims, according to The Globe and Mail.