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Gary Bettman: 2018 Canada junior crew investigation ‘actually near the top’

MONTREAL — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman says the league’s investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving members of Canada’s 2018 world junior crew is getting “actually near the top.”

In a media availability on the Bell Heart earlier than the Montreal Canadiens’ sport towards the Boston Bruins on Tuesday, Bettman mentioned that the investigation was “not a race” and that the aim was to “get it proper.”

“Doing an investigation of this nature, having access to data and other people, is not one thing which you can simply snap your fingers and make occur,” Bettman mentioned. “Clearly, we’re not the one ones conducting an investigation and apparently no person’s finished but and so we wish to carry it to its conclusion, however we’re simply not there but.”

Bettman had mentioned that the NHL was within the “dwelling stretch” of their investigation on Dec. 13 however that there was nonetheless work to be finished. Bettman attributed the delay in concluding the investigation to “coping with the realities” of everybody concerned, not resistance from witnesses.

“Having access to folks on a well timed foundation, we do not technically have subpoena energy, getting documentary proof that could be filed in locations that it’s important to get entry to,” Bettman mentioned. “It is sophisticated. It is not like merely saying, we wish it to occur. However we’re attempting to work it by once we get to the top and we wish to get it proper.”

The NHL started its personal overview after information surfaced that Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit with a lady who mentioned she was sexually assaulted by eight members of the nation’s world junior crew at a gala in 2018. A number of gamers from that gold medal-winning crew are at present within the NHL.

The allegations haven’t been confirmed in court docket.

Bettman additionally mentioned that the method to promote the Ottawa Senators was “underway.” After the demise of proprietor Eugene Melnyk, Senators Sports activities & Leisure mentioned in November that the membership can be potential patrons.

“I imagine that the info room is open,” Bettman mentioned. “And the individuals who will file functions to be certified have begun to do their due diligence and so my understanding is the method is beneath approach.”

One high-profile suitor, Hollywood actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds, confirmed his curiosity in buying the NHL crew to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Present on Nov. 7, 2022. He added that he wanted “a associate with deep pockets.”

Reynolds then visited the Canadian Tire Heart on Nov. 8 for a 6-4 Senators loss to the Vancouver Canucks and obtained an ovation.

Bettman additionally touched on the incident involving Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov again on Jan. 17. The blueliner, who’s of Russian Orthodox religion, determined to remain within the Flyers’ locker room because the crew held LGBTQ satisfaction evening and donned Satisfaction themed pre- sport jerseys set to be auctioned for charity.

After the sport, Provorov acknowledged his non secular beliefs to clarify his determination to not step onto the ice carrying the jersey throughout warmups.

“We as a league and our franchises attempt to characterize the most effective values ​​of their communities,” Bettman mentioned. “We wish to be sure that we are able to make a optimistic distinction in folks’s lives, whether or not it is for psychological well being evening or to make sure segments of our society who perhaps traditionally have not been concerned in hockey really feel welcomed and included.

“However in the end, gamers additionally need to be snug by way of their very own particular person beliefs and it is a balancing act.”

In mild of the Canada-USA Rivalry collection saying that they’d conclude their 2022-23 season in Laval and Trois-Rivières, Que., Bettman reiterated his displeasure with the ladies’s hockey panorama.

The present setup pins the Premier Hockey Federation (PHF) with seven groups in Canada and the USA with the Skilled Womens Hockey Gamers’ Affiliation (PWHPA). For Bettman, the NHL’s involvement in an expert ladies’s league stays unattainable with out frequent floor between either side.

“We proceed to have considerations,” Bettman mentioned. “The 2 organizations competing versus coming collectively shouldn’t be superb. And if it ever will get found out, we’ll be greater than supportive.”

Bettman added that he has “tried on a couple of event” to carry either side collectively.

“They every appear intent on entering into their very own path,” he mentioned. “I believe to ensure that ladies’s hockey to achieve success, all people’s obtained to be maximizing the trouble collectively. As a result of beginning a league shouldn’t be straightforward.”

Bettman added that there might be ladies’s hockey participation as soon as once more within the 2023 NHL All-Star Weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Jan. 24, 2023.

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