The London Knights have increased sexual violence prevention training, adding courses and seminars on top of the required Ontario Hockey League course, saying the team is committed to educating players.
The team held the two-hour OHL Onside program for its major junior hockey players this past September, with London's Anova acting as facilitators. Players have also finished two additional courses on sexual violence prevention and consent that were delivered by other professional facilitators.
"On top of the three seminars already conducted in this area, we have conducted an additional seven training seminars on important topics," said Rob Simpson, associate general manager for the Knights. He would not name the trainers who performed the additional work with the team.
Hockey Canada and the sport in general have been embroiled in controversy recently, beginning with an incident in London that involved sexual assault allegations against some members of Canada's 2018 world junior hockey team.
The group that conducted the league-mandated OHL Onside course with the Knights said research indicates the more training, the greater the chances that behaviours will change.
"It's actually about coming in again and repeating the same message, and coming in again and having the coaches repeat the same message, and coming in again and reiterating this so that you start to shift the culture over time," said AnnaLise Trudell, the prevention, education and research manager at Anova, which helps survivors of gender-based violence.
Anova also offers a unique program called Man Made, aimed at male students in post-secondary institutions in Nova Scotia and Ontario. Western University is a participant, however, the Knights have not requested that specific training.
In some cities, finding facilitators to teach has been a challenge, said Ted Baker, an OHL vice-president. The Ontario Coalition of Rape Crisis Centres (OCRCC), which oversees local centres, admits it doesn't always have the resources to provide additional training.
That's not the case in London, where Anova said it has two full-time educators on staff, a part-time educator and three contract educators.
The OHL said it is open to local centres offering more support to teams if they have the personnel, but unless the resources are there, they don't want to commit to formal training across the board for every team. The league wants to keep the program unified, Baker said in the recent interview with CBC.
While the Knights would not offer specifics around the extra training courses, Simpson said the team "strives to give our players the best education possible on and off ice."