Independent review by CHL in wake of Carcillo-led class action

Daniel Carcillo, Sarnia Sting, 2002-2003

The Canadian Hockey League (CHL) is establishing an independent review panel to thoroughly examine its existing policies and procedures regarding hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying.

The CHL issued a statement Friday in response to a class action lawsuit launched June 18 by Daniel Carcillo, formerly of the Sarnia Sting, and former Lethbridge Hurricanes player Garrett Taylor.

The CHL said it takes the allegations in the players’ statement of claim very seriously.

“We are deeply troubled by the allegations in the recently announced class action, many of which are historic in nature and we believe are not indicative of the leading experience our players receive in the CHL today,” the statement said. “Regardless of the timing, we are taking the claims very seriously as the protection of our players has been and will always be our primary concern.”

The CHL said its member leagues [the Ontario Hockey League, the Western Hockey League, and the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League] have made a number of advancements to enhance its player experience programs over the past 20 years. It said it has been working with organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Red Cross and Respect in Sport, to develop extensive policies and practices to educate players and team staff on the importance of respect and prevention of hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying.

The CHL said it wants to ensure it provides the safest environment to protect its players.

“The CHL Board of Directors unanimously agreed to the appointment of an Independent Review Panel to thoroughly review the current policies and practices in our leagues that relate to hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying and the allegation that players do not feel comfortable reporting behaviours that contravene these policies,” the league said. “A chair of this panel will be announced in the coming weeks and our goal is to have the review process completed in time for the start of the 2020-21 season. We welcome the findings of the Independent Review Panel to ensure we are providing the safest player experience in hockey and amateur sport.”

The CHL said to the extent that any allegations relate to criminal conduct, it encourages those involved to contact police.

The full CHL statement can be found here.