Tim Hortons, Scotiabank will not sponsor Hockey Canada this season, Hockey Quebec withholds funds


Hockey Quebec says it has lost faith in Hockey Canada and will not transfer funds to the national organization, while well-known Canadian brands have extended a sponsorship boycott.

Hockey Quebec has confirmed to The Canadian Press that its board of directors passed a motion Tuesday night stating that it does not believe Hockey Canada’s current structure can change the culture of hockey. The resolution was first reported by La Presse.

The provincial hockey body has also decided to keep the portion of the registration fee normally given to the national body, which amounts to $3 per registration.

Additionally, Tim Hortons announced Wednesday that it will not be sponsoring any Hockey Canada men’s programming this season, including the Junior Men’s World Championship in Halifax and Moncton.

The company, which first suspended its sponsorship in June, says it will continue to fund national women’s hockey and para-hockey programs, as well as youth hockey.

Scotiabank followed suit on Wednesday evening, announcing in a statement that it would extend its sponsorship hiatus from the organization through the 2022-23 season, including the World Junior Tournament.

“In our June open letter, we publicly called on Hockey Canada to keep the game at a higher level and we are disappointed with the lack of progress to date,” the bank said.

“From Hockey Canada, we expect a concrete commitment to transparency with Canadians, strong leadership, accountability with their stakeholders and the hockey community, and improved safety on and off the ice. Our position has not changed: the time for change is long. late.”

The Ontario Hockey Federation, the largest of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial hockey associations, has asked Hockey Canada for a second time not to collect the $3 Participant Assessment Fee from its members for the 2022-2023 season.

OHF chief executive Phillip McKee told CP that his federation made the same request in July to former Hockey Canada board chairman Michael Brind’Amour.

“We now understand that this request was never made to the board prior to his departure,” the OHF said in a statement.

Brind’Amour resigned from his position on August 6. Andrea Skinner took over as interim board chair.

The Canadian Press has contacted the provincial hockey associations of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba for their reaction to Hockey Quebec’s resolution. BC Hockey said it would “continue to monitor” the situation, while Hockey Saskatchewan responded with a “no comment” response. Hockey Alberta and Hockey Manitoba did not respond.

Hockey Canada continues to vigorously defend its leadership despite criticism over the handling of alleged sexual assaults and the way money was paid out in lawsuits.

Two recent allegations involve players from the 2018 and 2003 Canadian men’s junior teams. These allegations have not been tested in court.

The revelations also included Hockey Canada’s admission that it dipped into minor hockey registration fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims.

Brind’Amour and Skinner were questioned Tuesday by MPs on why significant changes were not made to the leadership of Hockey Canada. Both continued to support CEO and President Scott Smith.

Hockey Quebec’s decision was applauded by Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge, who called for a change in Hockey Canada’s leadership.

“It also sends a message to the leaders of the organization who keep their jobs that Hockey Canada does not belong to them,” St-Onge told reporters in Ottawa. “It also belongs to their members, and they want change. They want a culture change and they want to fight against sexual violence.

“As Hockey Canada executives keep their jobs, voting members have to clean up.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it’s “amazing that Hockey Canada continues to be stubborn” as more and more Canadians lose faith in him.

“It is not surprising that provincial organizations are wondering whether or not they want to continue supporting an organization that does not understand the seriousness of the situation it has helped to cause,” Trudeau said Wednesday.

Hockey Canada has come under fire since May, when it was revealed it had settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players from the 2018 men’s junior hockey team at a gala in June in London, Ontario that year.

The allegation is the subject of three investigations by London police, the National Hockey League and Hockey Canada.

Ontario Conservative MP John Nater said Smith and senior Hockey Canada leadership needed to leave in order to see meaningful changes in the organization.

“Right now we have to put pressure on the organization,” Nater said Wednesday before entering his party’s weekly caucus meeting.

“Lobby the 13 voting members to make sure there is a board in place that will make these meaningful changes at the top.”

Conservative MP Kevin Waugh added that Hockey Canada has the money to deal with the current scandal for years to come.

“It will be up to the sponsors, I believe now,” Waugh said.

Sports marketing expert Tom Mayenknecht said Hockey Canada’s defensive posture makes it harder for the national body to retain public and corporate trust.

“This is such a series of bad decisions and bad manipulations, in my opinion, that I don’t know if Hockey Canada hasn’t already crossed that line, again, given the public sentiment and even from the feeling of the members that I am hearing locally,” Mayenknecht told The Canadian Press.

“I’m not sure they can fully regain confidence without doing much more than they’ve already done.”

It was revealed in July that Hockey Canada had paid out $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989.

The figure did not include the payment this year of an undisclosed sum to the London plaintiff, who had sued for more than $3.5million.

Since Hockey Canada’s rules were made public in the spring, Halifax police have been asked to investigate an alleged sexual assault by members of the 2003 junior men’s team.

The federal government froze federal funding for Hockey Canada and several companies suspended their sponsorship in June.

Brind’Amour said Tuesday that Smith has “the qualities to do something positive for the organization.” Skinner, meanwhile, said culture change can happen while maintaining leadership stability.

Director of Western University’s School of Kinesiology Laura Misener says Hockey Canada’s reluctance to change its organizational structure shows a lack of understanding of what is needed to protect the sport.

“I think there are two things going on there: one, there’s a level of protectionism. Wanting to protect the sport that they believe in, that they really strongly, really enjoy, that there’s something important thing in protecting this sport,” said Misener. . “I think that happens on the one hand and why they want to stay in their positions.

“Second, I think there’s a real misunderstanding about what culture change (and) culture change requires.”

With files from Frederic Daigle in Montreal, Stephanie Taylor in Ottawa and Abdulhamid Ibrahim in Toronto.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 5, 2022.

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