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Former Players, Advocates Respond to Hockey Canada Hearings – KION546

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Michael Lee, CTVNews.ca Writer

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TORONTO, Canada (CTV Network) — Calls for major reforms continue in Hockey Canada following recent revelations about how the organization handled past sexual assault allegations.

The House of Representatives Canadian Heritage Committee has ruled out the organization’s handling of previous assault allegations, including setting aside a reserve funded by player fees to pay for “uninsured liability” such as sexual abuse allegations. has been investigated.

Brock McGillis, an LGBTQIA2S+ advocate and the first openly gay male professional hockey player, told the CTV news channel on Thursday.

“This is hockey culture, this is what it’s been like, this is what I’ve been saying since 2016 and it needs a complete overhaul.”

It was revealed Wednesday that Hockey Canada has paid $7.6 million in settlements to nine cases involving sexual assault and abuse allegations since 1989.

Of that, $6.8 million was for a settlement involving former junior hockey coach Graham James, who was found guilty of sexually abusing a player.

The $7.6 million includes an undisclosed settlement from a May-disclosed settlement with a woman who sued Hockey Canada for alleged sexual assault in London, Ontario involving a member of the 2018 Canadian World Junior Hockey Team. does not include the amount of The allegations have not been proven in court.

Hockey Canada has reopened its own investigation into the incident, which allegedly occurred after Hockey Canada’s celebration, and the law firm responsible for it says it has interviewed the complainant. The organization also plans to speak with nine players who were present at the gala but were not interviewed in the original survey in 2018.

A Hockey Canada executive said the woman was against speaking to police or investigators and chose not to identify the players involved at the time.

Police in London, Ontario, have since reopened their investigation into the 2018 team. Halifax police are also investigating an allegation of historic gang sexual assault at the 2003 World Junior Hockey Championships.

Hockey Canada, meanwhile, has been criticized for maintaining a reserve called the National Equity Fund. This is derived from player fees used for “uninsured liabilities” including but not limited to sexual abuse allegations.

Hockey Canada has since said it will not use the fund to resolve sexual assault allegations.

“I hate it and I feel sad,” McGillis said of the reserve.

“…that means playing AAA hockey. Parents pay over $20,000 a year for their children to play, and some of that money goes to pay victims of sexual assault. Moreover, instead of doing positive things like actually changing the culture, humanizing the problem, and using money to educate people They are using money in passive ways to pay and silence.”

Calls to resign as Hockey Canada leadership

McGillis and others are calling for a change in Hockey Canada’s leadership.

Former NHL player and victims’ rights advocate Sheldon Kennedy is also among those calling for Hockey Canada’s president and CEO Scott Smith to step down. Kennedy has been vocal about changing hockey culture after being abused by then-coach Graham James.

Kennedy issued a statement on Twitter on Tuesday after Canadian hockey announced an “action plan” to combat the sport’s “toxic” culture.

Smith said an ongoing governance review may prove he’s not the right person to fill the role, but he’s “the right person to lead Hockey Canada to a new place.” I believe that it is

Politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, have also set their sights on Canadian hockey. In June, the federal government stopped funding the organization.

McGillis said recent events could mark a “watershed” moment for Hockey Canada, but said it would depend on whether a new leadership team and board were put in place.

“I’m still not entirely optimistic, but I’m more encouraged than I have been in the past six years doing this job,” he said.

Brady Leavold, a former Canadian Hockey League player and founder of Puck Support, an organization focused on substance abuse and mental health in hockey, told CTV News Channel on Wednesday that one of the country’s leading organizations As one, Hockey Canada “needs to step up,” he said. Look up and go above it. ”

“At first I wanted to give them some room for doubt, but as more things started to emerge, it was clear that trust had been broken and this is one of the most prestigious organizations here in Canada. One,’ he said.

“And whether they were or not, I think people here need to be able to trust those in charge. I think I need to do the right thing and resign because of this.”

In a statement released Thursday, Ann Pegolaro, a professor at the University of Guelph and co-director of the National Research Network on Gender Equality in Sport in Canada, said Hockey Canada wants to regain the trust of Canadians. If so, he said, the leader would have to resign.

She also called for more diversity in all sports management.

“You really can’t solve a problem like this when you have the same people and mindset that created the problem in the first place,” she said in a statement.

Using files from CTV News and The Canadian Press

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