TORONTO (AP) – Jordin Tootoo and Nathan Paetsch have denied any involvement in an alleged group sexual assault while on Canada’s junior hockey team in 2003.
Tootoo, who was a member of the silver medal-winning team and played 13 seasons in the NHL with Nashville, Detroit, New Jersey and Chicago, released a statement Saturday calling for a full investigation into the “disturbing allegations”.
“I do not recall knowing or hearing about the incident in question during or after the tournament,” Tootoo wrote on Twitter. “I was shocked when I heard about this in the media and I will fully cooperate with any investigation.”
Regional Police in Halifax, Nova Scotia have opened an investigation into the incident that allegedly happened when the city hosted the international tournament 19 years ago. Hockey Canada said it learned of the alleged sexual assault on Thursday and immediately informed Sport Canada and Halifax Police.
Carlo Colaiacovo and PA Parenteau issued statements on Friday saying they were not involved in the alleged sexual assault and would participate in any investigations.
In 2015, Tootoo wrote a memoir titled “All The Way,” in which he discussed his experiences playing for Canada at the Junior World Cup, including how the team was made up of “horny youngsters” and how “some of the guys get some girls after practice and go to one of the rooms.”
Tootoo acknowledged Saturday that his memoir covered the team’s sexual exploits, but also said he was struggling with alcohol addiction at the time. It was in this context that he said he had no recollection of knowing or hearing about the alleged sexual assault.
Paetsch tweeted Saturday that he was “deeply saddened” to learn of the allegations and that he would fully cooperate with any investigation.
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“As a member of this team, I would like to make it clear that I had no involvement or knowledge of the alleged incident,” Paetsch said.
Scottie Upshall, another teammate who now hosts a podcast called “Missin Curfew,” said in a tweet on Saturday that he was in favor of a full investigation.
“I fully support the police and NHL’s thorough investigations into the allegations made in the media yesterday regarding the 2003 Canadian World Juniors team,” Upshall tweeted.
Hockey Canada has already had funding from the federal government and corporate sponsors cut short after allegations of sexual assault involving eight members of the 2018 men’s junior hockey team.
These allegations came to light after media reports said Hockey Canada paid the woman an undisclosed settlement after she sued the organization, the Canadian Hockey League and the unidentified players. The woman was seeking $3.55 million.
On Wednesday, the chief of police in London, Ontario, ordered a review of that force’s initial sexual assault investigation in June 2018.
The Canadian Press reported that Hockey Canada has maintained a fund that relies on hockey’s lower membership fees to pay uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims. Hockey Canada confirmed on Tuesday that the fund exists but would no longer be used to pay claims over allegations of sexual assault.