RCMP investigating alleged misconduct at West Kelowna hockey school

Kelowna RCMP has opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct involving minors at Okanagan HC. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images - image credit)
Kelowna RCMP has opened an investigation into allegations of misconduct involving minors at Okanagan HC. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images - image credit)

Kelowna RCMP have opened an investigation into alleged misconduct within Okanagan HC, a private hockey school in West Kelowna.

RCMP did not specify the nature of the allegation or who is being investigated. They did say in a statement that the Kelowna Vulnerable Persons Section is leading the investigation, which involves individuals under the age of 18.

CBC has confirmed the investigation is related to complaints from a father who claims his son, along with others, were subjected to alleged harassing behaviour.

The father said he withdrew his son from Okanagan HC after complaints filed with the club and owner Rod Hume were ignored.

"I repeatedly requested to meet with him and have an action plan about how he was going to keep my kid safe ... and he refused to do that," said the man.

CBC requested an interview with Hume on Thursday, a day before the RCMP announced the investigation. Hume responded with an emailed statement that reads in part:

"We are taking the complaint seriously and, in consultation with the Junior Prospects Hockey League, we are hiring an independent legal firm to conduct an independent investigation ... Any contraventions of our Discipline and Code of Conduct Policy will be addressed by the terms set out in the policy, up to and including the suspension or dismissal of a player."

CBC reached out to Okanagan HC for comment after Kelowna RCMP opened the investigation and was told in an email to refer to another statement from Hume.

"While the Okanagan Hockey Club has not been contacted by the RCMP, we will fully co-operate with any investigation," reads the statement.

"We do not condone any form of bullying or harassment and recognize the importance of creating a culture that is conducive to learning and development in a safe environment for all players."

Okanagan HC is one of 10 clubs in the newly formed Junior Prospects Hockey League (JPHL), which operates divisions in under-14, under-15 and under-18 age groups.

The JPHL is not sanctioned, meaning it operates outside of B.C. Hockey and Hockey Canada rules, regulations and oversight.

The league is the property of Alberta-based company Silent Ice Sports and Entertainment. Former NHLer Ryan Smyth is listed as one of four executive directors on the Silent Ice website.

On Oct. 31, the JPHL posted a statement on Twitter saying it was aware of an unnamed team that was the subject of alleged JPHL code of conduct violations.

"We will not sit idle to these concerns and are undertaking a rigorous and detailed investigation. We will comment once we have concluded our findings," it reads.