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Hockey Canada board chairs defend 2018 sexual assault lawsuit settlement – National OCN News

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Hockey Canada board chairs defend 2018 sexual assault lawsuit settlement – National

Past and present Hockey Canada board chairs have defended the national sport body’s handling of sexual abuse allegations dating back to 2018, saying appropriate action was taken at the time despite criticism generalized.

Former Speaker Michael Brind’Amour, who resigned in August, and his successor, Interim Speaker Andrea Skinner, were questioned by MPs during their appearance before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa.

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Hockey Canada has been under the national microscope since May, when it was revealed it settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players from the 2018 men’s junior hockey team at a gala in June in London, Ontario this year.

“As a board of directors, we wanted to do what we consider to be responsible and respectful, particularly with regard to the wishes of a young woman involved,” said Skinner, who is the first woman to lead the Hockey Canada Board of Directors.

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“I personally did not want to see the young woman subjected to the cruelty and invasiveness of an adversarial trial involving cross-examination and harsh defense tactics.”


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On Aug. 6, Brind’Amour resigned amid calls to reform Hockey Canada’s leadership over its handling of recent sexual assault allegations against players, including two alleged incidents from 2003 and 2018.

“I strongly believe that Hockey Canada has taken the appropriate action by reporting this incident to the police, to Sport Canada and by launching an independent investigation,” said Brind’Amour, referring to the incidents that occurred in 2018 during his tenure as president of the advice.

“I understand Canadians’ frustration with the suspension of the investigation in 2020 and the case has recently resumed,” he told MPs.

“And I want to repeat that I was never informed of the identity of the people involved.”

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Hockey Canada has been embroiled in a series of scandals, prompting calls to reform the leadership of the national sports body.

On Tuesday, Brind’Amour and Skinner took fierce questions from MPs as they were pressed on a wide range of issues plaguing the sport.

Skinner and Brind’Amour were asked why Hockey Canada President and CEO Scott Smith was not fired or why an expensive public relations firm was hired to do damage control.

“What we heard is that there is a call for a new perspective. Hockey Canada has secured an outside perspective. We are taking steps to change the way we communicate,” Skinner said.


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Tara Slone speaks candidly about the cultural crisis facing Hockey Canada – September 9, 2022

The federal government froze funding for Hockey Canada in June and summoned its leaders to the standing committee mat on June 20 and July 26-27.

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Former chairman Tom Renney, current chairman and CEO Scott Smith, chief financial officer Brian Cairo and former vice president of insurance and risk management Glen McCurdie were among those grilled.

St-Onge and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have also called for the resignation of Hockey Canada executives.

But Skinner insisted that more managerial changes are not needed at this time.

“We believe it is in the best interest of Hockey Canada and all of its participants that the leadership of the organization remains stable.


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Former NHL player and victims’ rights advocate Sheldon Kennedy, a survivor of Graham James, has called for the resignation of Smith, Hockey Canada’s leadership team and board of directors.

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Faced with loss of corporate sponsorship and public outcry, Hockey Canada presented an action plan to address safety issues in sport and said it would no longer use the ‘National Equity Fund’ to settle sexual assault claims.

Skinner said frozen funding and lost sponsorships have forced Hockey Canada to become more transparent.

“We need to be more transparent. I agree that we need to better communicate the things we have done and the things we are doing. And that’s partly why I took on this role,” she said.

Former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell has been appointed by Hockey Canada to conduct a governance review.

An interim report of recommendations is expected before the annual general meeting of the board in November, when the next board election is held.

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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