Hockey Canada survey questions draw criticism from membership, Canadians

Hockey Canada's logo pictured on a jersey. (Graham Hughes/CP)

A survey sent around by Hockey Canada late last week has raised the ire of its members and other Canadians for some of the questions being asked by the embattled organization.

The survey, a copy of which was forwarded to Sportsnet by a dissatisfied member, was sent to coaches, officials, parents, players and other volunteers involved in the game across the country.

Hosted by New York-based market research firm Forsta, the survey asks more than a dozen questions surrounding Hockey Canada's handling of the recent allegations of sexual assault involving members of the 2003 and 2018 Canadian world junior teams.

One of the sections discusses Hockey Canada's next moves. In it, members are asked to rate the importance – using a scale from "Not at all important" to "Very important" – of several possible strategies to move forward. Included are questions about whether Hockey Canada should "introduce new leadership," "explain what happened," "offer an apology" and "discontinue the use of membership fees to cover uninsured sexual misconduct claims."

Another section asks respondents to strongly agree or strongly disagree with the following statement: "The level of criticism by the media towards Hockey Canada is overblown."

Twitter users weighed in on the survey, with comments ranging from "The questions on this survey tell you exactly where their heads are at. Things need to change!!" to "As a hockey parent &, variously, coach, team manager, team trainer, timekeeper I can assure you that media criticism doesn’t even come close to the disgust I have for you on the sex-abuse scandal."

In a statement emailed to Sportsnet, Hockey Canada said it has been conducting virtual town halls to get feedback from members, and the survey was an extension of that strategy. As for the questions on the survey, the Hockey Canada statement said, "Certain survey questions were constructed to gauge sentiment and awareness of the issues facing Hockey Canada from members of the hockey community."

Many of questions and suggested answers in the survey are addressed in Hockey Canada's action plan, which was published on its website on July 14 and put forward by CEO Scott Smith during hearings on July 25 in Ottawa.

"Under no circumstances was Hockey Canada downplaying the challenges facing our organization, or the horrific allegations of sexual assault against former members of the National Junior Team," the Hockey Canada statement continues. "We have been very clear that we recognize we need to do better and are committed to making the changes necessary to foster a safe and positive environment for all participants on and off the ice."

Hockey Canada did not comment on how many surveys were sent out or what would be done with the survey results.

A sampling of questions on the survey:

How would you characterize your current view of Hockey Canada?

There have been several past sexual assault allegations involving Canadian junior players in the organization. How familiar would you say you are with the allegations involving junior hockey players?

How closely are you following the media coverage (including social media coverage) concerning Hockey Canada?

Based on what you know, how do you feel Hockey Canada performed in terms of addressing the issue? In your opinion, Hockey Canada’s performance was … (fill-in answer)

How familiar are you with Hockey Canada’s response to the issue?

What can Hockey Canada do to improve your impression?

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