Cullitons Apologize After Player Sexual Assault Sentencing

The Stratford Cullitons have issued an apology following the sexual assault sentencing of former player Mitch Vandergunst.

The board of directors for the Stratford hockey club issued a media release Thursday night saying they had no knowledge of the allegations against Vandergunst until he was convicted on January 30, and that the 20-year-old has been released from the team.

Vandergust was released on bail pending appeal on Wednesday.

The two incidents reportedly happened in 2013. In the release, the board apologized to the victim and her family for any additional stress and grief the club’s involvement may have caused.

Along with an apology, the team also stated they will be taking the following steps:

  • Players, staff and Board members will participate in additional suitable conduct training sessions with our prevention officer, as well as a domestic abuse awareness session provided by Optimism Place Women’s Shelter and Support Services.
  • The board will review our current policies with regards to reporting protocols and obligations for players, staff and board members.
  • Criminal record checks for players 18 and over will be instituted by the team.

The team also announced the resignation of Head Coach Phil Westman, along with the release of forward Ty Bilcke.

Jason Lott will be the interim director of hockey operations and Tyler Canal will take over as interim head coach for the rest of the season.

**With files from Marty Thompson**