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Hockey Canada and Hockey Culture Need to Change

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Sexual abuse is rarely publicly addressed, as was the case in a case involving hockey in Canada. Even when former CHL head coach Graham James’ decades-long history of abuse came to light, there were no House committees.

Perhaps this indicates that the hockey community and society at large are ready to face and debate the rampant issues of rape and sexual abuse. Sadly, little progress has been made on how society views these tragic events. I live in shame.

I would like to believe that this hearing will positively change the way we view and discuss sexual assault and rape and, more importantly, how we discipline and punish offenders. I’m desperate, but the problem is far too widespread and I’m not optimistic.

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Who is Hockey Canada and how did you get here?

This follows a lawsuit filed in April by a woman who claims she was sexually assaulted by eight former CHL players at a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, Ontario in June 2018. is emitting.

Hockey Canada settled the lawsuit in May. But what if Rick Westhead’s report hadn’t exposed this settlement?, then it would never have made it to the House Committee.would not have reached globe and mails Reports on the National Equity Fund, This was generated by Hockey Canada’s dues and investments, according to Brian Cairo, Hockey Canada’s chief financial officer. Cairo said this in his House testimony.

Without Westhead’s first report, nothing would have changed within Hockey Canada.

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At the same hearing, Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith told the committee he had no intention of stepping down from his position and could make the necessary changes. I’m sorry, but the organization needs a cleanse. We need new direction, new priorities, and new leadership. The current administration did not want change. they were forced. A few months ago, Smith and Hockey Canada made a payment to quietly settle the matter. It wasn’t.

Smith told the commission that since 1989, he has paid 21 petitioners $8.9 million in sexual abuse settlements. Most of that, $6.8 million, was for settlements related to Graham James.

An additional $1.3 million was paid through insurance for 12 other sexual misconduct allegations.

“We are not spending money to protect our image,” Smith said. “We have spent money responding to and assisting victims … which means we have spent money supporting families.” No doubt they believe it, but Westhead Why aren’t there as many internal investigations uncovered as the reports in the It looks like they were trying to silence the

hockey culture…

When you hear the word hockey culture these days, you often have a negative image. I think there are many great things about the game of hockey, but hockey is not immune to sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, and other deplorable practices. Sadly, it exists in hockey circles as it does in soccer, gymnastics, ballerinas, tennis, and virtually all sports. .

Sexual abuse and rape are major issues in society, and when the term “hockey culture” is used to describe allegations about the 2018 and 2003 World Junior Teams, some hockey officials self-deprecate. I found myself defending myself. It’s okay to admit that hockey has problems. Instead of trying to walk away from hockey, all of us involved in hockey need to recognize that hockey exists, stand up, and say hockey needs to change.

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Hockey affects most communities in our country. Many of us played it, still play it, coached and volunteered, and involved kids. Maybe I should be a leader who causes If everyone in the hockey world decided it was enough to protect perpetrators or turn a blind eye to sexual abuse, and spoke up for change, society as a whole might follow suit.

Waiting for someone else to lead the change doesn’t work. We are far from perfect when it comes to racism and homophobia, but at least we have made progress to improve in the last few years. There are still steps to be taken, but at least some are in the right direction is proceeding to For decades, there have been no positive outcomes when it comes to sexual abuse.

Child abuse is rampant, and the frightening aspect is that 95% of victims’ children know and trust their perpetrators. In Canada, 30% of women over the age of 15 Reported having been sexually abused at least once. Reportedly, 10-20% of men experience some form of sexual abuse or assault in their lives. But even now, in 2022, sexual assault on men is disrespected or ridiculed. Sexual abuse affects children, men and women.

Hockey has many very good sides, but right now, Hockey Canada shows that hockey’s biggest governing body is in trouble. But Smith and Canadian hockey officials disagree.

“If the governance review we’ve outlined in our board or action plan suggests that I’m not that person, I’m ready to accept that,” Smith added. but will do so if the board proposes.

But how many should remain on the current board? Smith is just one. He hockey he shouldn’t be the scapegoat for all of Canada. He wasn’t the only one who felt their secret of paying victims was the best plan, there should be more change than just him.

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My main questions are: Does anyone in Hockey Canada have experience leading an organization through the murky waters of sexual abuse? How do they deal with it? What guidelines and regulations will they introduce?

The truth is that all of us involved in hockey need to have uncomfortable conversations about sexual abuse. We want calm, open dialogue and discussion, not his one-off online courses that people take. It is of little use. This is a deeply ingrained problem in hockey and society that needs to be addressed head-on. You can no longer expect other people to initiate unpleasant conversations.

I waited and did nothing. We need change within hockey Canada, but we also need awareness and change within hockey culture. Start there and hopefully the rest of society will notice and follow suit.

Personal note…

I was scheduled to do radio coverage of the upcoming World Junior Championships for all the games in Canada. I enjoyed the two games I played, but due to recent events and my personal relationship with sexual abuse, I have decided not to call them this month.

I made the decision because my mother, Pearl Gregor, was sexually abused as a child. And two of my close friends girlfriends were abused. One when she was a teenager babysitting her — when her husband came home to her, he raped her. Another friend of mine was raped by her colleague. Sadly, statistics show that I have more abused friends, but I never got around to discussing it.

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My mother is a book about her journey to healing, and that’s why I can mention her name publicly. My friend’s name is not published so it’s not the place to mention it. They had to live in shame and fear for years, but it’s not right. They haven’t done anything wrong, but they’ve had to deal with trauma for the rest of their lives. need to do it. And the perpetrators should be punished.

My decision to withdraw from the call of the game was mine alone. I don’t think others would do the same, as their personal ties to rape and sexual abuse may differ. I respect their decision and hope they respect mine.

I worked with the Edmonton Women’s Shelter to host the Little Warriors event. They are a great charity focused on child sexual abuse awareness, treatment, prevention and advocacy.I have met some survivors and heard their stories firsthand. Their courage is inspiring, especially when you hear the details and pain of their stories.

I have said many times that our views on sexual abuse need to change and improve. One day I didn’t want to talk about it on the radio show, but the next day they called a Team Canada game. They haven’t done anything wrong and they deserve to play. It didn’t feel like the right time to call the game.

If you want change, you have to be willing to walk away from things that affect your opportunities. I wish Team Canada the best of luck.

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