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Sask. university coach off job after allegedly commenting on sports bra, massaging athletes

A former University of Regina coach has been suspended from a national athletics organization following allegations of inappropriate conduct involving young athletes.

The complaints against Wade Huber were filed with the office of the Athletics Canada commissioner, who released an executive summary of the decision last week.

In the commissioner's decision, Huber was found to have “violated his responsibilities under the 2015 Athletics Canada Code of Conduct and Ethics, and constituted grooming, psychological maltreatment and sexual maltreatment under the 2021 Athletics Canada Code of Conduct to Prevent and Address Maltreatment in Sport.”

In a statement to CTV News, a university spokesperson said Wade Huber's employment was terminated in September of last year after an internal investigation following allegations of misconduct.

Following Huber’s dismissal from the University of Regina, the Athletics Canada commissioner's summary indicates a whistleblower filed a code of conduct complaint on Oct. 17, 2022. The complaint made allegations against Huber relating to his actions with athletes he had coached from March 13 to July 2022.

“In the complaint, the Whistleblower wrote that they had observed [Huber] massaging female athletes at practice when experienced trainers were available to perform that task,” commissioner Hugh Fraser's report said, as well as observing him in “an intoxicated state at practice and in a hotel where the team was staying for a competition.”

Following the whistleblower's complaint, the commissioner’s office retained an investigator who conducted interviews with 14 other witnesses from Nov. 28, 2022 to April 14, 2023.

In total, there were six allegations made against Huber. Fraser dismissed three of the allegations, one of which involved a "consensual kiss" between Huber and a former teammate. Huber was not in a position of authority at the time, Fraser said.

An allegation that Huber demonstrated preferential treatment towards a group of female athletes on the team, was found to have violated the 2015 Athletics Canada Code of Conduct and Ethics.

“The evidence of text message exchanges, late night lengthy phone calls, asking them to babysit his children, becoming close with their families and visiting their homes for meals clearly blurs the lines between what is acceptable in a coach/athlete relationship and what is not,” Fraser wrote, describing the athletes as "teens and young adults."

“These types of behaviours are discouraged in the current policy because they have the potential to cross into sexual behaviour, Fraser said.

While there was no evidence submitted that suggested Huber's behaviour involved sexual misconduct, Fraser cited Athletics Canada's code of conduct which states "grooming is often a slow, gradual and escalating process of building trust and comfort with a young person."

Another allegation was that Huber would often make comments about female athletes' body parts, as well as their clothing.

“I agree with the Investigator’s findings that the conduct described in this allegation would be considered 'boundary violations' as defined in this policy and included under the definition of 'grooming,'" Fraser said in the report.

“Mr. Huber admitted to complimenting one athlete on the fit of her sports bra. [He] should have been aware that under no context would such a comment be appropriate for a male coach to make to one of his female athletes."

According to Fraser's report, several athletes gave evidence that Huber made comments about other athletes that were inappropriate or made them feel uncomfortable, which "meets the definition of psychological maltreatment" under Athletics Canada's code of conduct.

Another allegation was that Huber took an inappropriate photo of one of the female athletes he was coaching.

“The witness who discovered this photo did not harbour any resentment towards [Huber], but was nevertheless upset about what she had inadvertently stumbled upon on his phone,” the report read.

The two other allegations dismissed by the commissioner involved "suspicion that Mr. Huber appeared at the track facility in a state of intoxication" which Fraser found was unsubstantiated.

Following the findings, Huber was suspended for an indefinite period of time from participation in any program, practice, activity, event, or competition sanctioned by Athletics Canada or any of its members or affiliates.

Huber may apply to Athletics Canada for reinstatement of his membership after Sept. 13, 2030. Top Stories

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