Because it would be “useless to wait before starting a new era”, the chairman of the board of directors of Hockey Canada, Michael Brind’Amour, announced on Saturday that he had submitted his resignation. He claims not to be “able to carry out this renewal” that the organization needs.
Posted at 9:24 a.m.
Updated at 9:58 a.m.
“My last term ends in November 2022, and I know there is no need to wait before starting a new era. It is essential to act immediately to address the significant challenges facing our organization and our sport and for which our action plan has been put in place. I would not be able to carry out this renewal and I have therefore announced my resignation from the board of directors,” said Mr. Brind’Amour in a statement.
He says he is “reassured” by the appointment earlier this week of former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell, who will have the mandate to review the organization’s governance.
“This review will help us make the necessary changes. I am certain that the recommendations will guide the organization towards the desired changes,” said the outgoing president.
The latter also says “wish the best of success to those who will succeed me”, swearing to have “listened carefully to the comments of Canadians regarding the culture of our sport, that of our organization, our actions and our leadership”. “I understand that our measures taken in recent weeks are part of the solution,” he said.
In the middle of a crisis
Hockey Canada has been in hot water since last spring. It was first revealed that the organization had settled out of court a lawsuit alleging sexual assault by eight players after a 2018 organization gala in London, Ont. After flimsy presentations to a parliamentary committee, several politicians have called for the resignation of Hockey Canada executives in recent weeks. Federal Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge had even suspended the allocation of federal funds to Hockey Canada.
In the process, the TSN network had also revealed that players from Junior Team Canada sexually assaulted a young woman in Halifax on the sidelines of the World Championship in 2003. The assault was even recorded and the victim was unconscious during the assault.
Since 1989, a total of $7.6 million has been taken from Hockey Canada’s “national equity fund” to compensate nine victims of sexual assault without going to court, also confirmed Brian Cairo, chief financial officer. of Hockey Canada, who was among current and past members of the organization’s leadership who testified before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage.
Earlier this week, we also learned that the sports federation had disseminated false information about the victim. Last May, when gang rape allegations against the eight hockey players came to light, Hockey Canada widely publicized information that the victim had never contacted authorities. However, in a first public outing since the case was brought to light, the young woman maintains that she has indeed filed a complaint with the London police.
In a statement, the Hockey Canada Board of Directors acknowledged on Saturday that it has “work to do to raise the expectations we have of all hockey stakeholders and thus promote positive behaviors from local programs to national teams.” Its board and members will meet “over the next few days” to appoint an interim president, whose identity is still unknown at this stage.
The sports organization nevertheless thanked Mr. Brind’Amour for his “leadership” and his “numerous contributions to the sport” over the years, noting that under his leadership a “special emphasis” was placed on “inclusion, including increased female presence in hockey, and safe sport”.
The next election for Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors will take place during its annual meeting, scheduled for next November.
With Simon-Olivier Lorange, The Pressand The Canadian Press