The Western University women’s hockey coach, who is at the center of a conflict in which some players threatened to boycott games, says she will return to the ice ready to support the team.
Candice Moxley was part of an independent investigation following allegations of player misconduct. Some said they were forced to play while injured.
Moxley was cleared of misconduct last week and a strength and conditioning coach was fired.
“This has been a terribly difficult time, for women’s hockey at Western and for me as a coach,” Moxley said in an email Thursday. “I have certainly reflected during this experience and will continue to grow and improve as a leader.”
At a meeting Wednesday with the university administration, students were asked to give their input on how they feel about Moxley’s return. Some had sent a letter to the president’s office last week in response to the investigation’s findings.
In the letter, they questioned the impartiality of the investigation conducted by London lawyer Elizabeth Hewitt, who served as a volunteer on the board of directors of two Western universities.
“We had the expectation that Western University would believe us, the survivors of the psychological abuse we suffered at the hands of Coach Moxley,” the letter said.
Player Feedback Survey
Western vice-chancellor John Doerksen met with the players on Wednesday. He told CBC in a statement that the letter was not signed or endorsed by the entire team. Players were asked to complete a confidential survey indicating their intentions to remain on the team this season under Moxley’s leadership, he added.
“We asked you to consider responding today [Thursday] to 4 pm due to our need to plan for this weekend’s games. “If the team did not intend to continue, we would have to notify them (Ontario University Athletics) before the weekend for operational consideration,” Doerksen wrote.
Some players asked for more time to consider their options and the survey remains open, he said.
Breaking: reached out to several players on the Western women’s hockey team and did not receive a response. The person who shared the letter to the president with Breaking: said they had been told not to speak.
According to some players, the first informal complaints about misconduct were made in February 2022 and were not transparently addressed by staff, and there was no follow-up.
“Everything was swept under the rug,” the letter states.
Western said it hired Hewitt to investigate in July 2023. He conducted 45 interviews with several people and determined that some allegations were substantiated, but those against Moxley were not legitimate and informal complaints were appropriately addressed.
“I have always wanted nothing more than for them to succeed, as a team and as individuals, and for them to thrive as student-athletes. I will continue to do everything I can to support them in that goal,” Moxley said.
She added that she has been away from the team caring for a family member and intends to return with the goal of creating a positive and productive experience.