Calls for cultural change at Hockey Canada spark period of reckoning for sport


As sponsors distanced themselves from Hockey Canada over the previous few weeks, it turned clear they wished to see greater than only a change in management.

The want for a sweeping overhaul — by way of phrases akin to “crucial cultural change” [Telus], “enhance the tradition” [Scotiabank], and “significant change” [Canadian Tire] — was a standard thread in lots of explanations from the businesses that backed away from Hockey Canada after months of scandal over its mishandling of alleged sexual assaults.

Even after the complete board stepped down on Tuesday together with the CEO, company companions emphasised the necessity for extra measures earlier than they’d return.

Yet altering deep-seated beliefs, attitudes and behaviours — what some describe as an invisible, implicit power that governs a company — is not simple. Experts say it requires an entire rebuilding from the highest down and a clear restructuring of governance, insurance policies and directives.

The group must have an sincere reckoning with its issues earlier than it could actually start to rebuild and change its tradition, stated Geoffrey Leonardelli, professor of organizational behaviour at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

“Changing the tradition of a company begins with a dissatisfaction with the established order,” stated Leonardelli, additionally tutorial director of the college’s government applications on negotiations and main change.

“There must be a motivation for change.”

Calls for change

The voices calling for such change grew louder this previous week. As nicely as main sponsors and a few of Hockey Canada’s provincial member our bodies, the Prime Minister weighed in on Tuesday.

Justin Trudeau stated the chief departures took too lengthy to materialize and are solely a “first step” on the highway to remodeling the sport.

“There’s a tradition to change,” Trudeau stated. “There is an terrible lot of work to make sure that the constructions and techniques that Hockey Canada has in place protects workers, protects Canadians, protects our children as they play hockey.”

And in a 103-page interim report and memo launched Thursday by Hockey Canada, a former Supreme Court justice stated “there might be no severe debate” that Hockey Canada’s management had misplaced the arrogance of stakeholders and a serious teardown was wanted.

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Hockey Canada board, CEO resign amid widespread criticism

Hockey Canada has introduced its CEO and full board of administrators are stepping apart after mounting backlash over its dealing with of sexual assault allegations.

Justice Thomas Cromwell is within the midst of a full governance overview of Hockey Canada, with which he was tasked earlier this yr after it was revealed that the group reached an undisclosed settlement with a lady who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight gamers, together with members of the nation’s 2018 world junior staff. None of the allegations have been confirmed in court docket.

If Hockey Canada is to efficiently rebuild, stated Leonardelli, it have to be clear about its mission and values.

“You must develop a imaginative and prescient for the place the group must go after which determine methods to get there,” Leonardelli stated.

Aside from the headline-grabbing allegations, some observers pointed to the extra insidious ways in which hockey tradition has edged children off the ice.

“Minor hockey in Canada has change into a bit of a beast,” stated Charlene Weaving, a human kinetics professor at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S.

“It’s very costly to take part and that excludes rather a lot of folks,” she stated. “It’s additionally change into uber-competitive at a extremely younger age and which will additionally discourage some younger youngsters from taking part.”

Need of ‘massive shake-up’

Indeed, Bauer Hockey underscored declining participation charges as a key concern earlier this week. It referred to as on Hockey Canada to shift its focus from elite efficiency and nationwide staff victories to rising the sport.

Weaving stated the board’s new management has a chance to incorporate new voices and construct fairness, range and inclusion within the group, saying it wants a “actuality examine and a complete overhaul.”

“There must be an enormous shake-up at Hockey Canada and the reply is not simply flooding the board with girls,” Weaving stated.

“We want extra various voices on the board, and that features extra girls but additionally folks of color and new Canadians,” Weaving stated.

Canada’s girls’s staff, winners of each the 2022 Olympics and world championships, stated in an announcement the Hockey Canada resignations have been a optimistic first step, however {that a} board of administrators that “really embodies the variety of our nation” is significant.

“We ask for equal illustration with a seat at the desk, as we proceed to advertise and develop the ladies’s recreation globally, that we could deliver our perspective and enter to make sure that our sport’s nationwide governing physique evolves to 1 that actually represents all Canadians and safeguards its individuals,” they wrote.

Moving ahead, Hockey Canada might want to do a cultural audit, stated Jennifer Walinga, two-time Olympian and professor of communication and tradition at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C.

“It begins with the people who we’re inviting to tackle the roles and tasks as board members and administration,” she stated. “It begins with them studying methods to really assemble an efficient tradition.”

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Hockey Canada’s use of fund to pay sexual assault claims flawed: report

A report commissioned by Hockey Canada discovered severe flaws with how the group dealt with a fund used to pay for sexual assault claims.

Rugby Canada not too long ago commissioned an unbiased overview of its high-performance applications after complaints have been raised. That group’s response charts a possible path ahead for Hockey Canada, Walinga stated.

“Rugby simply went by means of an enormous revolution and now evolution. They’ve acquired nice management on the board. They’re doing the suitable issues. They’re wanting at themselves authentically and truthfully. They’ve held up that mirror and embraced a really scathing report that they printed transparently to their complete membership.”

Culture issues, she stated, as a result of it exists in each fibre of a company.

“It’s the foundations of engagement and it reveals up within the governance, insurance policies, behaviour, phrases, interactions and even structure. It reveals up within the aura of the sector.”


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