Canada hockey in the penalty area


After an unconvincing appearance on Monday before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage, Hockey Canada was defeated where it hurts the most: in the coffers. The federal government stops providing millions of dollars in funding to the federation.

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Following the disturbing revelations of a gang rape that allegedly took place in a London hotel room in June 2018, Hockey Canada continues to score in their own goal.

In front of elected officials on Monday, the leaders of the powerful organization said they had never been able to identify the eight players in question following an incomplete independent investigation in which the said athletes were never forced to testify.

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Minister not impressed

On Wednesday, Federal Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge confirmed, first to TSN and then at an official press conference, that funding for Hockey Canada would be cut until the organization establishes a partnership with the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner. It has the power to receive and investigate allegations of abuse and to impose sanctions.

“Like everyone else, I was looking forward to Hockey Canada’s testimony before the heritage committee. And like everyone else, I have a lot of questions about event management. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a lot of responses during this appearance. “

“What we have learned about their handling of the event is extremely disturbing and disturbing,” the Brome-Missisquoi MNA said when it announced the measure.

Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, Tom Renney, chief executive, Dave Andrews, president of the Hockey Canada Foundation, and Andrew Winton failed to convince elected officials in Ottawa on Monday.

Photo by QMI Agency, Marc DesRosiers

Scott Smith, president and chief operating officer of Hockey Canada, Tom Renney, chief executive, Dave Andrews, president of the Hockey Canada Foundation, and Andrew Winton failed to convince elected officials in Ottawa on Monday.

Since 2020, Hockey Canada has received $ 14 million from the Canadian government, including $ 3.4 million in emergency grants due to COVID-19-related losses. Recently, $ 2.2 million was reportedly requested to recover from the aftermath of the pandemic.

Calling Hockey Canada’s leadership “deficient, inappropriate and from another era,” Minister St-Onge chastised the federation, which reached a $ 3.55 million out-of-court settlement with the alleged victim, who protects the club. identity of the offending players.

“Today, with all we know about sexual violence and the impact on the lives of those who are victims of it, with all the recommendations on how to manage these situations, they must [les dirigeants de Hockey Canada] enter 2022 to change the culture of the organization ”, he swore.

Conditions to be fulfilled

Additionally, Minister St-Onge is asking Hockey Canada to submit its independent investigation report, even if incomplete, so that it can be reviewed. The federation will also need to demonstrate how it will implement the report’s recommendations within its organization.

Ottawa funding will not be renewed until this condition is met, in addition to partnering with the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner.

“They will have to work closely to change the culture of silence, as well as take appropriate action to combat sexual violence within the organization,” warned Ms.myself Sant’Onge.

Federation investigation

At the end of the day, the Québécois Bloc unanimously approved a motion stating that “the House is calling for an independent investigation into Hockey Canada’s June 2018 event handling to find out if it is an event. isolated or if there are gaps in the way Hockey Canada handles complaints of sexual assault, sexual harassment and other types of misconduct that are reported to it ”.

On Monday, Hockey Canada said two more investigations were underway for sexual events and that “two to three” cases had occurred each year for “five or six years”.

A good first step

In the eyes of Enrico Ciccone, a longtime serious hockey player, the sanction imposed by Federal Minister Pascale St-Onge is a good step, but he would have liked to see Hockey Canada hit even harder on the knuckles.

Rather than stopping funding until the federation meets the conditions, Marquette’s liberal lawmaker in Montreal and the official opposition critic in Quebec for sport, recreation and healthy living, would have advocated a long-term freeze.

“I would have said, ‘For the next two years, fix it!’ It is unacceptable how Hockey Canada has managed to do it, without trying to go through with it.

“It’s a good step, but the minister is much kinder than me, let’s put it this way”, he commented in an interview with The newspaper.

A good thing

After the Hockey Canada bigwigs appeared before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Monday, some elected officials pointed out that withdrawing subsidies would not be a viable solution and would penalize young players.

“When an industry is unable to take care of itself and manage itself, the higher authorities must decide for it,” Ciccone retorted.

“The nerve of war, in all sports federations, is money. You don’t want to hurt the next generation. But when you have a reserve to buy someone’s silence, it’s because it must have a small pillow. There are other ways to raise money. You just have to work harder in the next few years, “continued the former NHL brawler.

Not credible

According to him, it would even have been desirable that, like Russia, which invaded Ukraine, Canadian athletes could not be identified in the country during international matches.

“You won’t be able to wear the maple leaf in the next few years. The entity should be penalized. You have no choice but to go there, “she pleaded.

One thing is certain, the one who has evolved for 11 seasons in the pro ranks clearly hasn’t given a shred of credibility to the bonzes of the organization.

“When Hockey Canada tells me they will put measures in place to avoid these things in the future, I feel like saying, ‘Are you kidding me?’

“Junior Team Canada is developing role models for our young people. There is a huge social responsibility that comes with it. For me, all this is a departure from the example that we must show to our young people and our girls to protect them, ”she concluded.


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