Hockey Canada board chairs defend organization’s leadership



Hockey Canada’s board chairs, previous and current, performed defence beneath Home of Commons questioning of the hockey physique’s dealing with of alleged sexual assaults and the way cash was paid out in lawsuits.

Former chair Michael Brind’Amour and interim chair Andrea Skinner appeared by way of video convention Tuesday earlier than a Canadian Heritage standing committee in Ottawa.

Skinner was appointed interim board chair after Brind’Amour resigned Aug. 6.

Canada’s sports activities minister Pascale St-Onge and victims rights advocate Sheldon Kennedy are amongst folks telling Hockey Canada management to step down to be able to change the group’s tradition.

“Poisonous behaviour exists all through society,” Skinner stated. “Suggesting that poisonous behaviour is someway a particular hockey drawback, or to scapegoat hockey as a centerpiece for poisonous tradition is, for my part, counterproductive to discovering options, and dangers overlooking the change that must be made extra broadly, to forestall and handle poisonous behaviour, notably in opposition to ladies.”

She and Brind’Amour had been grilled on why Hockey Canada president and chief govt officer Scott Smith had not been fired or why an costly public relations agency was employed to conduct harm management.

“What we’ve got heard is there’s a name for a brand new perspective. Hockey Canada has secured an out of doors perspective. We’re taking steps to vary how we talk,” Skinner stated.

“Our board doesn’t share the view that Hockey Canada needs to be making extra management adjustments right now. As a board, we proceed to help the CEO and administration.”

Sustaining management stability throughout a tumultuous time for the group, at present beneath a governance assessment and with board elections looming in November, does not come on the expense of the tradition change, Skinner stated.

Edmonton Oilers chair Bob Nicholson, who was Hockey Canada’s president and CEO from 1998 to 2014, didn’t seem, however has been requested by the committee to look at a future listening to.

Hockey Canada has been beneath the nationwide microscope since Could when it was revealed it had settled a lawsuit with a lady who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight gamers from the 2018 junior males’s hockey group throughout a June gala occasion in London, Ont., that yr.

Amongst different revelations that adopted was Hockey Canada’s admission it drew on minor hockey membership charges to pay for uninsured liabilities, together with sexual abuse claims.

Additionally, Halifax police had been requested to analyze an alleged sexual assault by members of the 2003 junior males’s group.

The feds have frozen Hockey Canada’s funding and referred to as its executives on the standing committee carpet June 20 and July 26-27.

Smith, former president Tom Renney, chief monetary officer Brian Cairo and former vice-president of insurance coverage and threat administration Glen McCurdie had been amongst these questioned. The board chairs appeared earlier than the committee for the primary time.

It was revealed within the July hearings that Hockey Canada had paid out $7.6 million in 9 settlements associated to sexual assault and sexual abuse claims since 1989.

That determine did not embody this yr’s payout of an undisclosed sum to the London plaintiff. Nearly all of that cash went to these abused by junior hockey coach Graham James.

Within the face of misplaced company sponsorships and public outcry, Hockey Canada laid out an motion plan to deal with protected sport points and says it’s going to not use the “Nationwide Fairness Fund” to settle sexual assault claims.

Hockey Canada additionally appointed former Supreme Court docket justice Thomas Cromwell to conduct a assessment of its governance.

An interim report of suggestions is predicted earlier than the board’s annual basic assembly in November.

This report by The Canadian Press was first revealed Oct. 4, 2022.


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