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British Columbia’s minor hockey community is reeling after the sudden death of an up-and-coming teen player earlier this month.
Global News has learned Surrey RCMP is investigating whether sextortion may have played a role in the tragic suicide of 14-year-old Robin Janjua, described as a bright young hockey star from Surrey.
The tragedy has rattled the Delta Hockey Academy, where Janjua played on the U-15 team.
Former NHL player Kris Beech, who coaches at the academy, told Global News the club has been deeply affected, adding he’d lost one of his brightest and most dedicated players.
“The kids on the team are devastated,” he said.
“It was one of the worst things I’ve seen when we had to tell them the news. It was one of the saddest things I’ve ever seen in my life.”
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Janjua took his own life at home on the night of Feb. 13. CPR was provided at the scene, but he did not survive.
Sources said the alleged sextortion involved an intimate image of Janjua. It remains unclear who was behind the offence and where it originated.
“It was some horrible people that took advantage of this young man,” Beech said.
Beech would not speak to specific details of the incident, but told Global News the “online predatory situation” did not involve anyone from Janjua’s team or people the teen knew.
“One-hundred per cent it was a shock,” he told Global News.
“I don’t think anyone knew what was going on,” he added.
“There was no warning, I’ll say that.”
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Surrey RCMP has conduct of the file, but would not agree to an on-camera interview.
Mounties would only say they are still investigating the circumstances leading up to the death.
They did, however, provide numbers on a disturbing trend.
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Last year, Surrey RCMP received 209 reports of sexual extortion. Seventy per cent of the victims were male and 20 per cent were under the age of 18.
The numbers also showed an almost 40-per-cent increase in the last half of 2022 over the same period in 2021.
“Don’t be naïve about the dangers online,” Beech said. “It’s not a safe place for kids. You have to be aware of what they’re doing.”
The Surrey Eagles junior hockey club honoured Janjua at a game earlier this month.
The team, along with Semiahmoo Minor Hockey and the Delta Hockey Academy also paid tributes to the young player online.
Janjua is being remembered as a talented, committed player who had an unforgettable presence and who touched the hearts of the entire hockey community in Surrey.
With files from Rumina Daya
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 9-1-1 for immediate help.
For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention at suicideprevention.ca.
Learn more about preventing suicide with these warning signs and tips on how to help.
For resources and support on how to manage instances of sextortion, visit needhelpnow.ca or Cybertip.ca/sextortion.
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