Canadian women's national team players released an open letter to Hockey Canada on Monday to say they'll be "part of the fight for the truth" into allegations of sexual assault made against men's players as they seek a role in reforming the organization.
"We join all Canadians in demanding a thorough and transparent investigation of the incidents in question as well as the structure, governance and environment that exists within the organization," said the players in a statement. "Once the whole truth is out, Hockey Canada and its elected Board must ensure that all steps are taken and appropriate measures are put in place to ensure that this kind of behavior is never again accepted, and never repeated. Anything less would be a disservice to the common human decency we expect as a society and most certainly within the game of hockey, a sport that unites this country."
Hockey Canada has been the focus of multiple inquiries about alleged sexual assaults by men's junior hockey players.
News broke in May that a woman was accusing eight members of Canada's 2018 junior team of sexually assaulting her after a gala in London, Ontario. The woman was seeking more than $3.5 million in damages from Hockey Canada, the Canadian Hockey League and unnamed players. Details of the settlement were not made public. None of the allegations were proved in court.
After the NHL and NHL Players' Association began working on the framework for their own investigation, Hockey Canada announced it was reopening of a third-party investigation into the alleged sexual assault. Police in London, Ontario, said that they have reopened a criminal investigation into the 2018 allegations.
Hockey Canada said Friday that it had been made aware of an "alleged group sexual assault" involving members of its 2002-03 national junior team during the 2003 IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Current and former NHL players have released statements regarding both cases, some declaring their innocence and others encouraging an investigation.
Hockey Canada released a six-point action plan on Monday to address "the toxic behavior that exists in corners of the game." While the women's national team players acknowledged that plan, they said more action is needed "to ensure that a new Hockey Canada emerges from the crisis" it faces.
"We feel it is important to have women sitting at the table as this process evolves, and we urge you to include representatives from our group so that we can be informed and involved," they wrote.
The women's national team players also expressed concern about the financial fallout from the Hockey Canada investigations. Hockey Canada's federal funding was frozen in June. High-profile sponsors like Canadian Tire, Scotiabank and Tim Horton's have all paused support.
"The announced Federal funding cuts and investment withdrawal from major sponsors is deeply concerning, as this will surely impact the critical training and development funding that has allowed our Women's National Teams to shine on the global hockey stage," the players wrote.
The Canadian women's national team has set the gold standard for the sport with five Olympic gold medals,11 World Championship titles and six U18 World titles. The IIHF women's world championships are scheduled for Denmark at the end of August.
Additional reporting by ESPN NHL reporter Kristin Shilton.