Hockey Canada board and CEO resign amid fallout from sex abuse scandal | Ice Hockey

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The head of Hockey Canada and his entire board have resigned amid growing outrage over how the sport’s governing body has failed to respond to sexual assault allegations.

Tuesday morning, Hockey Canada announcement its CEO, Scott Smith, was leaving the beleaguered organization.

“Recognizing the urgent need for new leadership and fresh perspectives, the entire Board of Directors has announced that it will step down,” the statement said, adding that an interim management team would be appointed until such time. that the organization finds a new CEO.

Smith’s departure follows weeks of harsh criticism from former athletes and lawmakers. Pascale St-Onge, Canada’s Minister of Sport, had warned the leaders that they had to leave Hockey Canada before they “burned[ed] down “.

The board’s resignation is the latest development in an ongoing scandal that has further tarnished the reputation of the national organization.

Nike dropped its support of Hockey Canada last week, and a number of provincial hockey associations said they would stop paying fees to the national organization as pressure mounts on Hockey Canada to show that she understood the extent of the public outrage.

In parliamentary hearings, lawmakers chastised the organization’s reluctance to clean house.

“Parents are saving and saving to enroll their children in Hockey Canada programs. And the revelations – both the allegations of sexual violence and sexual abuse and how this is handled within Hockey Canada, but also the complete lack of financial transparency – are deeply troubling,” said member Peter Julian. of the New Democratic Party, to the chair of the board of directors of Hockey Canada, Andrea Skinner. .

On Saturday night, Skinner stepped down from his role. But the defection was not enough to stop the flight of major corporate sponsors.

On Tuesday, Bauer, the official equipment supplier for men’s hockey, announced that it would stop supporting upcoming tournaments and events, calling what it said was a repeated breach of trust by Hockey Canada management as “extremely disturbing”.

TSN first reported in May 2022 that an undisclosed settlement had been paid to a woman who alleged in a C$3.55 million (US$2.6 million) lawsuit that she had been assaulted. sexually abused by eight players, including members of the country’s World Junior Team, after a 2018 Hockey Canada gala in London, Ont.

National media reports later revealed that young players across the country had unknowingly funded most of these payments through their membership fees to the organization.

According to reports from The Globe and Mail, Hockey Canada also failed to disclose to Parliament the existence of a second secret fund to pay for legal efforts to ward off sexual assault claims.

Hockey Canada said it has paid C$7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989, not including this year’s payment to the London plaintiff. The majority went to survivors of abuse from the Disgraced former junior hockey coach Graham James.

The organization then announced that members of the 2003 World Junior Men’s Team were being investigated for gang sexual assault, as calls for change at the top mounted. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

“It is inconceivable that the folks at Hockey Canada are continuing to dig. It’s not like there’s anything extraordinarily special about the folks at Hockey Canada that means they’re the only people in the country who can lead an organization like this,” the Premier said. , Justin Trudeau, told reporters ahead of a cabinet meeting on Thursday.

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