Given the allegations of sexual assault involving players on multiple levels, cover-ups and dark money payouts to victims, a West Virginia University The scientist and renowned social science expert on violence in the world of ice hockey predicts that the sport is facing radical changes on a national and international level.

Walter DeKeseredyProfessor and Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair in Social Sciences in WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences and head of the WVU Violence Research Centeris a Canadian international and lifelong hockey fan with a deep love and concern for the sport.

DeKeseredy is one of the authors of “Skating on Thin Ice: Professional Hockey, Rape Culture, and Violence Against Women.” It examines conditions that allow a culture of toxic masculinity to persist in ice hockey and other professional sports, suggests possible paths forward, and calls for accountability from athletes, coaches, and officials.

A press conference was scheduled for Monday (February 5) in London, Ontario, Canada, to provide an update on a high-profile group sexual assault case involving players from Canada’s 2018 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, including many who later played in the national hockey league.

The case is covered in detail in DeKeseredy’s book, and he is available to talk about its significance to the world of hockey and the potential impact on professional sports as a whole.

Quotes:

“Violence in professional sports, particularly ice hockey, is widespread and a major problem that begins long before players arrive in the NHL. Many of these men who are physically and sexually abusive exhibited such behaviors as junior players and even before, and that is important to emphasize.

“For years, this type of behavior has been tolerated by both Hockey Canada and the National Hockey League by disbursing dark money funds to victims to silence them against NHL teams known to recruit convicted sex offenders. By setting up a slush fund and recruiting these types of men, Hockey Canada is essentially saying that it is okay to engage in such violent behavior because these organizations will help refute any allegations.

“In addition to the press conference in London, Ontario, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman is expected to hold his own press conference. This case will be a turning point for Hockey Canada and the NHL. I think we will see some radical changes at all levels of sport, from the youth leagues to the professional teams. I think the floodgates are about to burst open.

“There was an investigation into this incident back in 2018, but for some reason no charges were filed. So obviously there is significant political pressure being put on the London police. I think we’re going to hear things that take us into corporate boardrooms, NHL boardrooms and other places of power, and that’s going to have a significant impact on the business of sports. I think we’re going to see more major sponsors pulling out their money, which is really incredible, and I look forward to seeing some very good, very serious corporate governance.

“I think the financial impact on the hockey world will be great and other professional sports leagues should take note.” — Walter DeKeseredy, Professor, Anna Deane Carlson Endowed Chair in Social Sciences, WVU Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, Director, WVU Research Center on Violence

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