Twins in tough; more Hockey Canada mess

Marc Elliott

PARK POINT – Friends, some clarification is in order. In last week’s column, I wrote about the Hockey Canada scandal that is still unfolding, with new information emerging almost daily.
Right after submitting the piece, the next day an article appeared with a statement from a lawyer for the alleged victim of the sexual assault stating that she had taken a polygraph test relative to the event and had passed with a rating of “truthful.” The article also clarified some other info that had been out in the public domain that may have been incorrect.

It had been speculated that the victim initially didn’t wish to press forward and make the matter into a criminal investigation. It was believed that the victim’s mother was behind the push for law enforcement to become involved in the case but that the victim overruled her. HC alleged that the woman did not approach the police concerning this and was uncooperative. After some time had passed, the victim was still searching for answers and a path with which to pursue the matter. And in dealing with a lot of misinformation about what happened, the woman finally wanted to “get the record straight” and decided to do so through a civil case pursuit.

The new information states that within a day of the assault, the London, Ontario, police were notified, and they began an investigation. She was interviewed by a detective, turned over the clothes she had on that night to the police as potential evidence, and had a physical administered at a hospital. She further met with police two more times that summer, and in early 2019, the police declined to charge any of the accused players.

The young woman filed a civil statement of claim in April of this year and then the matter burst into the National media in Canada and the hockey media worldwide. HC agreed to a settlement in May. The woman was seeking $3.5 mil in damages. No details regarding the settlement have been issued, and HC reiterated that no criminal charges had been proven in court.

Beckett Personal Injury Lawyers of London represent her, and on her behalf, Robert Talach released a statement which read in part:
Within a day of her departing the hotel room, the London Police Service was notified and was investigating. She made it clear to London Police as early as June 24, 2018, that she wanted criminal charges pursued. After the passage of more than seven months from the incident, she was informed on Feb, 6, 2019, that no charges would be laid. Earlier media reporting that she did not approach or cooperate with police was inaccurate. Despite having now sought both criminal and civil legal cases she was asked to participate in the reopened internal Hockey Canada review and a renewed London Police investigation. She has complied with those requests.

She provided a comprehensive written statement to Hockey Canada on July 21, 2022, and to the National Hockey League the following day. She has continued to cooperate with the London Police. She most recently voluntarily underwent a polygraph examination arranged by this office regarding her statement on the incident. She successfully passed that “lie detector test” with a rating of “truthful.” The testing result and report was provided to the London Police, the Hockey Canada review and the NHL investigators.

This woman has fully engaged and cooperated with all the legal and formal investigations surrounding these events. We ask that her privacy continue to be respected and thank the Canadian public for their concern.
*end of statement
Also of note is that the International Ice Hockey Federation has launched an inquiry into the actions of HC to discover if they violated its Abuse and Harassment Code. I believe the next few months will be pretty interesting regarding the various investigations and inquiries underway at this time. Especially the one being conducted by the NHL. Of the eight participants alleged to have been involved, at least some, if not all of them, might be employed by NHL clubs at this time.

If the names of the perpetrators come forth, what would the league do? If they were not under the employ of the league or any of its teams at the time, could the league do anything? And if it did, are they open to litigation for trying?
This matter is currently a pretty large mess and becoming larger. I have a feeling the hockey world is about to be put into a great big box and shaken to its core. This isn’t the only incident drawing scrutiny in the hockey world right now, but it is the biggest. And because of it, the entire hockey world and most everyone in it is under indictment, deserved or not. The best I can say is stay tuned folks.

DID THE MINNESOTA TWINS get jacked out of a victory today? I hope not, because the way things are going recently, they are going to need every single win they can get between now and season’s end. This afternoon in the series finale between the Toronto Bluejays and Twins, there was some late controversy that got Twins skipper Rocco Baldelli ejected from the game and probably cost the Twins a win.

With CLE and the ChiSox on their tail in the Central Division race, the club’s margin of error has evaporated. The Twins are one up on CLE this evening and only two up on the Sox. The Jays win today earned them a series split, deserved or not.
In the bottom of the 9th inning, the Twins tied the game at two and had a runner in scoring position for the win but could not bring him in. In the top of the 10th, on a play at home plate, Twins catcher Gary Sanchez caught the throw home and tagged out the runner Whit Merrifield.
The home plate umpire, Marty Foster, called Merrifield out. After a review, the umpires reversed their original call and said Sanchez had “blocked” the plate. This gave the Jays a 3-2 lead and eventual win.
Baldelli emerged from the dugout like a human cannonball, engaged his inner Earl Weaver, let the umps have an earful and promptly got sent to the showers.
His thought on the play is that it occurs in many games and never gets called. So why were they calling it in this game?
Good question. In my years of watching the game and having played a little bit as a youth, catchers are taught to position themselves in front of the plate for a possible play at home. If it is clear that the runner will beat the throw, the catcher will yield to the runner. If it’s going to be close, the catcher stays in position, awaiting the throw.

And that’s exactly what happened. Sanchez caught the throw and tagged Merrifield out.
Even after the advent of replay in baseball, I must concur. It isn’t a call you see too often, if at all. This setback doesn’t help the Twin’s quest for the Division title or the playoffs, even in the weakest division in MLB.
I believe Rocco’s wallet is going to suffer a bit too. PEACE