Canada Revenue Agency reportedly reviewing claims of corruption within the GTHL

Canada's "taxman" is reportedly investigating allegations made by a former NHLer Akim Aliu regarding the buying and selling of minor hockey teams.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is reportedly reviewing allegations of corruption within the GTHL — an enormous minor hockey league based out of Toronto.

According to a report from TSN Senior Correspondent Rick Westhead, the CRA is investigating claims made by former NHL player Akim Aliu regarding GTHL teams being improperly bought and sold.

As Westhead points out in the article, there are more than 40,000 players registered in the Greater Toronto Hockey League, which is the world’s largest youth hockey organization. Several NHL stars — including Connor McDavid, Mitch Marner, Jack Hughes, Jason Robertson and Alex Pietrangelo — are GTHL alumni.

The Canadian taxman is coming for the GTHL. (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images)
The Canadian taxman is coming for the GTHL. (Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images) (Toronto Star via Getty Images)

While the CRA would not respond directly to Westhead, TSN was able to obtain a copy of an email sent via the government agency to Aliu on Sept. 11.

“The CRA takes abuse of Canada’s tax system very seriously,” the email to Aliu read, according to Westhead. “While most taxpayers respect the laws and pay their taxes, the CRA maintains various programs to ensure tax fairness. This includes the leads program, which gives the public the opportunity to report suspected tax or benefit cheating in Canada. The leads program received your correspondence and has sent it to the national leads centre for review.”

Back in April, TSN reported on an anonymous prospective buyer who nearly infiltrated a backdoor deal to buy a GTHL club, the Humbersview Huskies, for $375,000. The problem with this is that GTHL clubs are listed as non-profits. Westhead says that article is what compelled Aliu to file a complaint to the CRA and the federal minister of sport.

Aliu was a second-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2007. His professional hockey career spanned a decade, with stops in the NHL, AHL, ECHL and several European leagues before hanging up his skates after the 2019-20 season.

In the fall of 2019, the 34-year-old publicly outed Bill Peters, the Calgary Flames coach at the time, for berating him with racial slurs when he coached Aliu with the AHL's Rockford IceHogs. Peters resigned four days later.

Since retiring, Aliu has been outspoken in shedding light on racism within hockey and was one of the founding members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance.