Hockey Nova Scotia to withhold registration fees from Hockey Canada

A Hockey Canada logo on a Team Canada practice jersey. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Hockey Nova Scotia says it has “lost confidence” in Hockey Canada’s leadership and is suspending the transfer of funds to the national organization.

The provincial federation’s board of directors voted at an emergency meeting Thursday to keep a portion of registration fees normally transferred to Hockey Canada, which amounts to $3 per member, for the 2022-23 hockey season. 

In a statement, the board said it cannot support Hockey Canada until Hockey Nova Scotia’s values are reflected by the national body’s senior leadership.

Editor’s Note: The following story deals with sexual assault, and may be distressing for some readers.

If you or someone you know is in need of support, those in Canada can find province-specific centres, crisis lines and services here. For readers in America, a list of resources and references for survivors and their loved ones can be found here.

Hockey Canada continues to vigorously defend its leadership amid criticism over its handling of alleged sexual assaults and the way money was paid out in lawsuits.

Hockey Quebec passed a similar resolution on Wednesday morning, and the Ontario Hockey Federation followed with a request asking Hockey Canada not to collect the $3 participant assessment fee from its more than 200,000 members.

Also Thursday, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said he needs to see meaningful changes at Hockey Canada before the 2023 world junior hockey championship can proceed in his province. Halifax and Moncton, N.B., are to co-host the tournament in December and January. 

“I am deeply disappointed by what we continue to see with Hockey Canada. I said back in July that Hockey Canada has a lot of work to do. Canadians have the right to expect action, answers and accountability from the organization,” Houston said in a statement. 

“The work required to earn back the trust of Canadians needs to be transformational. The withdrawal of numerous sponsors is a signal to Hockey Canada that its response so far has been inadequate. We agree.”

Hockey Canada first came under fire in May when it was found that an undisclosed settlement had been paid to a woman who alleged in a $3.55-million lawsuit that she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of Canada’s world junior team, after a 2018 gala in London, Ont.

On July 22, the organization revealed that the 2003 world junior team was being investigated for an alleged group sexual assault. The national sporting body said it contacted Halifax Regional Police since Halifax was the co-host city of the world junior tournament that year.

That same day, Halifax Regional Police confirmed they would be investigating the 2003 alleged group sexual assault. Shortly after, London Police announced that its force would be reopening its investigation into the alleged sexual assault from 2018 over three years after closing it.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Hockey New Brunswick

“Over the past several months, there has been growing concern about hockey culture and the sport’s governance in Canada. Hockey New Brunswick (HNB) understands the concerns raised by our membership and others across the country and we are taking steps to address them.

HNB, as the provincial governing body for hockey, is firmly committed to driving the sport’s cultural change. As an organization, we are actively working to create educational opportunities for our membership. We have engaged subject matter experts on the topics of sexual violence, masculinity, maltreatment, and discrimination. We are promoting diversity, equity and inclusion and incorporating these important values across the organization. These are crucial first steps. We will continue to seek out additional opportunities to address issues that are prevalent across the sport.

HNB continues to await the results of the independent governance review of Hockey Canada undertaken by the Honourable Thomas Cromwell, C.C., which will provide recommendations about that organization and inform HNB’s next steps. 

HNB is committed to serving its membership, and we are focused on delivering upon our mission of being a leader in developing positive lifestyle, inclusive communities, and opportunities through hockey.”

Hockey NL

“Hockey NL, on behalf of our dedicated volunteers, officials, coaches, players, and the entirety of their families, continues to monitor and evaluate the developments in hockey across Canada.  The review and institution of meaningful change in our sport, and its governance, is at the forefront of our thoughts as we work towards a more transparent, collaborative, and safe future for all involved in our game. 

Hockey NL believes in safe, fun, and inclusive hockey experiences. We continue to participate with our colleagues across Canada in the Governance Review led by the Honourable Thomas Cromwell.  The decisions and communications of all of our member colleagues are also being monitored. As a group, Hockey NL has been proud to be a leader for inclusion with the implementation of our LGBTQ2+ policy and our recent launch of a Sexual Violence Prevention Program for our members. These programs demonstrate the position of Hockey NL as being committed to playing an active role in instituting meaningful change for our game and its members. Hockey NL believes in accountability, transparency, and responsible governance for all of our members and will be working to ensure the high standards we believe in are present within our game”

Hockey Manitoba

“Hockey Manitoba Board of Directors support the call by Members of Parliament for a change in Hockey Canada’s leadership at the Sr. Staff level and Board of Directors.   Further, Hockey Manitoba calls for a review of the Hockey Canada Action Plan to include consultation from experts or organizations working in education, awareness and prevention of sexual violence, abuse, bullying, and discrimination.

At this time, Hockey Manitoba representatives will not be offering further statements regarding the ongoing and fluid situation with Hockey Canada.  In this time media members are asked to respect this request and the valuable time of staff and volunteers as they navigate this unprecedented period in hockey governance all while administering the game we love in order to launch the 2022-23 season.  Updates and media opportunities will be made once further developments unfold on the national scene, namely the thorough review of the upcoming report from the Honourable Thomas Cromwell C.C., along with further attention to the situation being addressed around Hockey Canada leadership and the Hockey Canada Action Plan.”

Along with Hockey Quebec and the Ontario Hockey Federation, Sportsnet also obtained statements from both Hockey Saskatchewan and Hockey BC in British Columbia on Wednesday.

Hockey Saskatchewan general manager Kelly McClintock said his organization had no comment on the Quebec situation or the federal government hearing involving Hockey Canada on Tuesday.

BC Hockey said it is continuing to “participate in the review process, including the Governance Review underway and led by Thomas Cromwell.”

The governing body also says it is closely monitoring the “input and decisions” of fellow Hockey Canada members, including Hockey Quebec.

“BC Hockey is committed to playing a role in accountability for positive change in hockey for our participant members,” a statement obtained by Sportsnet wrote.

With files from Sportsnet

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