Hockey Canada mandates diversity, inclusion training for all players, coaches

Tom Renney speaks at a news conference as the new head of Hockey Canada in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, July 15, 2014.(Jeff McIntosh/CP)

Hockey Canada has mandated that beginning this week all national team players, coaches and support staff involved in the 2020-21 season take part in virtual diversity and inclusion seminars, the organization announced Monday.

The sessions, that will be delivered to a group of roughly 400, will be led by Tina Varughese, a professional speaker and trainer who specializes in diversity and inclusion, and will focus on unconscious bias. Varughese, an Indo-Canadian of first-generation East Indian parents, has worked extensively with Alberta’s immigration office.

Players, coaches and staff from all of Hockey Canada’s national teams — including, the men’s under-17, under-18 and under-20 teams, women’s under-18, development and senior teams, as well as Canada’s para hockey team — must take part in one of four sessions, which run from July 13 to 16, before proceeding with virtual summer camps.

“Hockey Canada is fortunate to have Tina Varughese deliver four important, impactful presentations on unconscious bias to approximately 400 players, coaches and support staff as part of our summer camp program delivery,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, in a statement.

“Tina will be an incredible resource for all participants, and we believe our teams and athletes will benefit greatly from her knowledge and expertise as we continue to educate our players and develop world-class individuals.”

In the statement, Hockey Canada acknowledged that it “needs to do more” and is committed to continuing to listen and learn, and be open to change in an effort to address diversity in the sport.

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