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Canadian Hockey League forms panel to deal with abuse after lawsuit

Last Updated Jun 26, 2020 at 1:04 pm MDT

Fans watch a Western Hockey League game between the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Portland Winterhawks in Kent, Wash. in this Jan.9, 2018 file photo. Alberta's highest court has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against the Western Hockey League can go ahead with the players involved.THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Ted S. Warren

TORONTO – The Canadian Hockey League says it is “deeply troubled” by abuse allegations in a class-action lawsuit filed by two of its former players and plans to form a panel to deal with any current issues.

The CHL released a statement Friday, just over a week after former NHL player Daniel Carcillo and Garrett Taylor, who played in the Western Hockey League from 2008-10, filed a statement of claim with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

A statement from Koskie Minsky LLP, the law firm representing Carcillo and Taylor, said the action “is on behalf of children aged 15-17 who were sexually and physically assaulted, hazed and otherwise abused while away from home and playing for CHL teams.”

The CHL and its three-member organizations _ the WHL, Ontario Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, are listed as defendants, as are all 60 teams that play under the CHL umbrella.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

On Thursday, the CHL board of directors agreed to the appointment of an Independent Review Panel to examine current policies and practices that relate to hazing, abuse, harassment and bullying and the allegation that players do not feel comfortable reporting behaviours that contravene the policies.