Election for Hockey Canada’s board of directors postponed for a month

Despite mounting force on Hockey Canada to scrub area, the following election for participants of its board of directors is being behind schedule via a month, CBC News has discovered.

In August, the board of directors began speaking in regards to the want to trade the narrative in accordance with intense public scrutiny of the way it settled a $3.5 million lawsuit alleging a team sexual attack in 2018 involving participants of the World Junior staff.

“Hockey Canada is frustrated with the misunderstanding and misrepresentation of the facts occurring in the public,” stated the board’s assembly mins from August, that have been considered via CBC News.

“Efforts need to be focused on our members and key stakeholders to provide them with accurate information.”

At that very same assembly in August, the board additionally mentioned asking provincial hockey federations if it must put off its election till the of completion of a file Hockey Canada had commissioned on its governance construction, stated the mins.

Hockey Canada employed retired Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell this summer season to habits the governance evaluate. The board stated his file may require adjustments to the vote casting procedure, the mins stated.

“The timing of the Cromwell recommendation and start of nomination process is proving challenging,” stated the mins from the August assembly.

The vote to elect a new board of directors used to be slated initially for November. It has now been behind schedule a month to December 17, Hockey Canada’s website online confirms.

In a observation, Hockey Canada stated that an “independent nominating committee” supported via provincial hockey federations decided on the digital election date and issued a name for nominations final week.

Provincial and territorial hockey federations now have a replica of the initial file from Cromwell, which does suggest adjustments to the election procedure, Hockey Saskatchewan showed.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated Friday he is had sufficient with Hockey Canada’s management proceeding to hang to workplace.

“If these individuals continue to be deluded enough to think there is a pathway forward for them to continue to run Hockey Canada, then Canadians will have no choice but look for another structure to run our national winter sport,” he stated.

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‘Hockey Canada is frustrated with the misunderstanding’

Andrea Skinner, the interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors, was defiant in her defence of the organization’s handling of group sexual assault allegations involving past junior hockey players when she appeared before a parliamentary committee earlier this week.

The hockey organization has been under intense public scrutiny since May, when a woman filed a $3.5 million lawsuit alleging that eight hockey players — including members of the 2018 World Junior team — sexually assaulted her while she was heavily intoxicated.

Skinner told a parliamentary committee on Tuesday that toxic behaviour is a society-wide issue and it’s “counterproductive” to use Hockey Canada as a “scapegoat.”

Many MPs called her response arrogant and tone-deaf. Major sponsors — including Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and Nike — have responded to the scandal by cutting ties with Hockey Canada permanently, or by withdrawing funding for men’s hockey this season.

A CBC News Fifth Estate investigation last week found police have investigated at least 15 cases of alleged group sexual assault since 1989 – and half of those cases surfaced in the past decade.

Andrea Skinner, interim chair of the Board of Directors at Hockey Canada, appears virtually as a witness at a House of Commons committee on Canadian Heritage on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Abuse insurance premiums could go up

While Hockey Canada is insured against sexual assault claims, it maintained its own reserve fund — made up in part of hockey players’ registration fees — to pay out on allegations it didn’t want to run through its insurer.

The board of directors discussed in August the fact that its insurance costs could go up in response to the recent revelations.

“Hockey Canada will have to incur a upper deductible than expected on abuse protection,” the board’s meeting minutes from August said.

The board also was advised during that meeting that “Hockey Canada’s sexual misconduct protection is uncommon within the sports activities trade and plenty of [National Sport Organizations] don’t have any such protection,” according to the minutes.

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Embattled Hockey Canada loses more corporate sponsors

Canadian Tire and Esso parent company Imperial Oil joined the growing list of sponsors to pull support from Hockey Canada as pressure grows on the organization’s leadership to resign.

Hockey Canada has had trouble in recent years finding insurers and keeping its premiums down, according to the minutes of a January 2022 board of directors meeting viewed by CBC News.

This summer, the board discussed several insurance policies that were up for renewal in September, including its liability policy for the board of directors and executives. The board renewed that policy with an annual premium of $1.9 million, according to Hockey Canada’s meeting minutes from August.

Hockey Canada has not yet answered CBC’s request for comment, submitted on Monday, asking if players’ fees cover the $1.9 million premium.

Mary Kelly is a professor and chair in insurance at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

She said this type of liability insurance protects the personal assets of directors and officers in the event that they are sued personally for alleged wrongful acts in managing the company.

“Since the group has admitted it has a duty to deal with poisonous behaviours, each off and on the ice, the directors and officials will also be held liable if there’s a lack of company governance in addressing this factor,” said Kelly. 

Federal Sport Minister Pascale St-Onge has said hockey culture suffers from a systemic problem of sexual violence and Hockey Canada needs a change of leadership.

“The leaders of Hockey Canada would possibly not budge,” St-Onge said in a statement sent to CBC News Friday.

“I believe that in the event that they in point of fact care in regards to the recreation, they are going to get out of the best way and let it rebuild because the certain, inclusive setting it must be.”

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