Bettman: NHL probe into junior hockey allegations nears end


MONTREAL — NHL commissioner Gary Bettman mentioned Tuesday 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 Centre earlier than the Montreal Canadiens’ recreation in opposition to the Boston Bruins, Bettman mentioned the investigation was “not a race” and that the purpose was to “get it proper.”

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

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

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

The NHL started its personal evaluate after Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit with a girl 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 courtroom.

Bettman additionally mentioned the method to promote the Ottawa Senators was “underway.” After the dying of proprietor Eugene Melnyk, Senators Sports activities & Leisure mentioned in November that the membership could be taking a look at potential consumers.

“I consider that the information room is open,” Bettman mentioned. “And the individuals who will file purposes to be certified have begun to do their due diligence and so my understanding is the method is underway.”

One high-profile suitor, actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds, has mentioned he was thinking about buying the crew however wanted “a companion with deep pockets.”

Bettman additionally touched on Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ivan Provorov’s determination to remain within the Flyers’ locker room because the crew held LGBTQ pleasure night time and donned Delight themed pregame jerseys set to be auctioned for charity.

After the sport, Provorov, who’s Russian Orthodox, cited 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 signify the most effective values of their communities,” Bettman mentioned. “We wish to make it possible for we are able to make a constructive distinction in individuals’s lives, whether or not it’s for psychological well being night time or to make sure segments of our society who perhaps traditionally haven’t been concerned in hockey really feel welcomed and included.

“However in the end, gamers additionally must be comfy when it comes to their very own particular person beliefs and it’s a balancing act.”

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