World Junior candidates face enhanced screening process from Hockey Canada
Hockey Canada for the first time is requiring players, coaches and staff who are candidates to represent Team Canada at the upcoming World Juniors to fill out screening forms providing details about whether they have a criminal record or have ever been threatened with disciplinary action by any organization. They must also consent to a search of their past social media activity.
The four-page form has been provided to prospective coaches and staff members, as well as players and parents of those players who are minors, a Hockey Canada spokesperson wrote in an email to TSN. Players for all Hockey Canada’s national teams, including men’s, women’s and para teams, will be required to fill out the forms moving forward.
All players, coaches and staff members scheduled to participate in Team Canada’s selection camp, which opens Friday, have completed the enhanced screening, Hockey Canada said. Canada will hold a training camp from Dec. 9-12 in Moncton and is scheduled to play two games against a university all-star team before naming its final 23-player roster on Dec. 12. The tournament is set to run from Dec. 26 to Jan. 5 in Moncton and Halifax.
“As part of its Action Plan, Hockey Canada announced in July an enhanced screening process for all players, coaches and team staff identified for potential participation in Hockey Canada high-performance programs that goes beyond criminal record checks and references from team officials about on-ice abilities,” a Hockey Canada spokesperson wrote in an email to TSN.
“Such assessments form part of the determination of whether these individuals are eligible for invitation to Hockey Canada programs. As part of this process, a screening request is sent to adult players, coaches and team staff, as well as parents of players who are minors. This request includes a screen of social media accounts. Once complete, all screening materials are reviewed, and based on such reviews, decisions are made regarding the appropriateness of individuals to be granted roster spots and for staff occupying designated positions.”
Hockey Canada said it has hired a “leading third-party provider” to conduct searches of social media accounts. It did not identify the company and did not respond to a question about how that company would search relevant accounts that were set to private.
The introduction of a screening form comes as Hockey Canada continues to try to restore public confidence, which has been badly battered in recent months amid revelations about how the organization’s top officials responded to an alleged sexual assault in June 2018 involving players who starred for Canada at the World Juniors tournament months earlier.
The form asks coaches, staff members and prospective national team players if they have ever used a different identity and notes that the failure to disclose truthful information may be considered an intentional omission and could impact current or future national team selections and opportunities.
The form also asks whether they have ever been disciplined or sanctioned by a sport and/or volunteer body or by any other disciplinary panel of any kind.
“Are sanctions, including those from a sport body, private tribunal or government agency, currently pending or threatened against you?” the form asks. “Is there anything we should know about you that could negatively impact Hockey Canada’s reputation as it relates to your team selection?”
Coaches, staff members and prospective national team players who are 19 and older are asked whether they have a criminal record. If they do, they are asked to specify the name or type of offence, the jurisdiction of the court or tribunal involved, the year they were convicted, and the penalty or punishment imposed.
"I recognize that I must pass certain screening requirements as a player, and that the screening committee will determine my eligibility to be selected as a player for Hockey Canada,” the form says. “This could include the completion of an enhanced police information check and/or vulnerable sector check, third-party social media screening, the completion of this form and other requirements.”Besides implementing its “character screening process,” Hockey Canada has also become a signatory to the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner, a new federal agency that will accept and investigate credible abuse complaints and is mandating sexual violence and consent training for all national team players, coaches and staff.