Photo credit:Hockey Canada
4 months ago
Despite increasing calls for significant changes to its executive in the wake of ongoing investigations into sexual assault allegations dating back almost 20 years, Hockey Canada’s board of directors is standing by CEO Scott Smith.
At least that’s the position of HC as of now, according to Andrea Skinner, appointed interim chair of the board Aug. 9 after the resignation of Michael Brind’Amour. While minister of sport Pascale St-Onge called for change within Hockey Canada on CBC Radio last weekend, Skinner and the board is backing Smith.
“I’m as concerned as all Canadians,” St-Onge said. “Also, my parliamentary colleagues have asked for the board to resign and the directors to resign. I feel the same, that there needs to be change within the organization.
“I’m using all the tools that I have to create and impose that change at Hockey Canada. But at some point, they need to also look at themselves. Are they the right people to implement the change that Canadians are requesting? They need to take responsibility for what’s happening within their own organization and so far, it hasn’t been enough.”
CHANGE FROM WITHIN?
St-Onge can’t make Hockey Canada executives resign because all organizations funded by the government are independent, but she has said more than once the organization needs to look within and take responsibility for what’s happening.
“Scott Smith and the executive team have the support of the board of Hockey Canada,” Skinner said in a written statement. “Our board is focused on facilitating the implementation of programs for girls and boys and men and women across the country. We are committed to improve our game, including through our governance review, the implementation of our action plan and other programs.
“We look forward to informing Canadians about the work and objectives of the board, and our ongoing efforts to restore the trust of Canadians in hockey and Hockey Canada.”
Smith, 55, took over from Tom Renney as CEO July 1. Smith has been with Hockey Canada in various capacities since 1995 and has also served as COO and president. Police are investigating three separate incidents of sexual assault by junior players alleged to have taken place between 2003 and 2018. As for the allegations specific to 2018, there may be significant developments on that front soon, according to Sportsnet.