Hockey Canada’s board chairs questioned about its handling of sexual assault allegations, payouts in lawsuits

OTTAWA, Ontario — Hockey Canada’s board chairs, previous and provide, performed protection when questioned Tuesday through the House of Commons about the way it treated alleged sexual attacks and the way cash used to be paid out in lawsuits.

Former chair Michael Brind’Amour, who resigned Aug. 6, and meantime chair Andrea Skinner gave the impression by way of video convention sooner than a Canadian Heritage status committee in Ottawa.

Hockey Canada has been below the nationwide microscope since May, when it used to be published it had settled a lawsuit with a girl who alleged she used to be sexually assaulted through 8 gamers from the 2018 junior males’s hockey group all through a June gala tournament in London, Ontario, that yr.

“Toxic behavior exists throughout society,” Skinner mentioned. “Suggesting that toxic behavior is somehow a specific hockey problem, or to scapegoat hockey as a centerpiece for toxic culture is, in my opinion, counterproductive to finding solutions, and risks overlooking the change that needs to be made more broadly, to prevent and address toxic behavior, particularly against women.”

Skinner and Brind’Amour additionally have been grilled on why Hockey Canada president and leader govt officer Scott Smith had now not been fired or why a pricey public members of the family company used to be employed to behavior harm keep watch over.

“What we have heard is there is a call for a new perspective. Hockey Canada has secured an outside perspective. We’re taking steps to change how we communicate,” Skinner mentioned, regarding calls from Canada Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge and sufferers rights suggest Sheldon Kennedy and others for Hockey Canada management to step down. “Our board does not share the view that Hockey Canada should be making more leadership changes at this time. As a board, we continue to support the CEO and management.”

Edmonton Oilers chair Bob Nicholson, who used to be Hockey Canada’s president and CEO from 1998 to 2014, didn’t seem, however has been requested to take action at a long term listening to.

Other revelations this yr come with Hockey Canada’s admission it drew on minor hockey club charges to pay for uninsured liabilities, together with sexual abuse claims and that police in Halifax, Nova Scotia, have been requested to analyze an alleged sexual assault through participants of the 2003 junior males’s group.

The feds have frozen Hockey Canada’s investment.

It additionally used to be published in July hearings that Hockey Canada had paid out $7.6 million in 9 settlements associated with sexual assault and sexual abuse claims since 1989 — the bulk of that cash went to these abused through junior hockey trainer Graham James and didn’t come with this yr’s payout of an undisclosed sum to the London plaintiff.

In the face of misplaced company sponsorships and public outcry, Hockey Canada laid out an motion plan to deal with secure game problems and says it is going to now not use the “National Equity Fund” to settle sexual assault claims.

Hockey Canada additionally appointed former Supreme Court justice Thomas Cromwell to behavior a evaluation of its governance.

An meantime record of suggestions is predicted sooner than the board’s annual basic assembly in November.

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