Hockey Canada letter shows 37 per cent of player fees go to insurance portion of National Equity Fund

Witnesses Scott Smith, Hockey Canada President and Chief Operating Officer, left, and Hockey Canada Chief Financial Officer Brian Cairo, appear at the standing committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, looking into how Hockey Canada handled allegations of sexual assault and a subsequent lawsuit. (Sean Kilpatrick/CP)

A letter sent to NDP MP Peter Julian by Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith shows more than 37 per cent of player fees go toward covering insurance costs that include "sexual misconduct coverage."

The letter, a copy of which was sent to Sportsnet on Thursday, shows that of the $23.80 paid to Hockey Canada by players across the country, $8.90 is used for "general liability insurance." This portion of the collected fees feeds into the National Equity Fund, which Hockey Canada said in July it would no longer use to settle sexual assault claims.

The letter was written in response to Julian's Aug. 22 letter calling for further accountability and transparency from Hockey Canada after Julian said he learned through a former board member — who remains unnamed — of perks and luxurious accommodations provided to board members.

Julian wrote that he had seen information showing dinners costing more than $5,000 for the board of directors, as well as accommodations exceeding $3,000 per night "such as the presidential suite at the (Westin) Harbour Castle in Downtown Toronto."

In response to those questions, Smith said in the letter that all board-related expenses are reviewed. However, Smith added, "We cannot speak to the information you have received regarding specific dinners or accommodations as this information did not come from Hockey Canada, but we do not believe it to be accurate."

Smith added that the governance review being carried out by former Supreme Court judge Thomas Cromwell is intended to ensure the board’s practices and policies "meet the high standards Canadians rightfully expect."

Julian also requested in his letter information about bonuses referred to by Smith during his July 27 testimony in Ottawa, in which he said, "the board of directors and our members from time to time have received a version of championship rings and there are some staff members who do have bonuses that relate to medal performance."

In the letter, Smith responded that "it is my understanding this information has been provided to the committee." No other details were provided.

The sport's national body has been under intense scrutiny since news broke in May of an alleged sexual assault after a 2018 gala in London, Ont., involving eight unidentified players — including members of that year's world junior team — and subsequent settlement.

Allegations of group sexual assault involving the 2003 world junior team emerged in July. A third potential allegation is also being looked into by Hockey Canada's independent third-party investigators.

None of the allegations have been heard in court.

--with files from The Canadian Press and Sportsnet's Emily Sadler

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