THUNDER BAY – UPDATED – Telus and Canadian Tire, and Scotiabank, have joined with Tim Hortons in pulling financial sponsorship from Hockey Canada.
Tim Hortons states, “We’ve communicated to Hockey Canada on many occasions that the organization needs to take strong and definitive action before it can regain the faith and trust of Canadians,” the statement reads. “We’re deeply disappointed in the lack of progress that Hockey Canada has made to date. We officially informed Hockey Canada this week that we have pulled out of all men’s hockey programming for the 2022-23 season including the men’s world junior championships.
“We continue to fund Canada’s women’s and para hockey teams, as well as youth hockey.”
Canadian Tire has announced that its decision on sponsorship is permanent. “In our view, Hockey Canada continues to resist meaningful change and we can no longer confidently move forward together,” says Jane Shaw, Canadian Tire’s senior vice-president of communications.
Scotiabank, which halted their funding back in June, says the bank will continue to withhold funding throughout the entire 2022-23 season, including the world juniors.
“In our open letter in June, we publicly called on Hockey Canada to hold the game to a higher standard and we are disappointed with the lack of progress to date,” reports a Scotiabank’s statement printed to Sportsnet. “From Hockey Canada, we expect a tangible commitment to transparency with Canadians, strong leadership, accountability with their stakeholders and the hockey community, and improved safety both on and off the ice.
“Ultimately our position hasn’t wavered: the time for change is long overdue.”
The reasons for the sponsors pulling their support is the slow action from Hockey Canada on dealing with serious allegations on how money has been spent and how the organization has dealt with accusations and confirmations of sexual abuse of players in Canada’s minor hockey system.
Back in August, Hockey Canada issued this statement:
“Over the last few months, Hockey Canada has been answering questions from Canadians and our partners about how we will ensure the safety, welfare and wellbeing of everyone participating in and enjoying the game of hockey in Canada. We have recently released an Action Plan to address systemic issues in hockey and ensure greater safety and inclusiveness in and around Canada’s game. We know we have an opportunity to do more to address behaviours that undermine the many good things the game brings to our country. With our Action Plan, we are aiming to do just that. We encourage everyone to read this plan and we welcome any feedback you may have.
“In addition to outlining what Hockey Canada will do as we move forward, we have also answered questions Canadians have about two disturbing allegations – at the Hockey Canada Foundation’s London Gala in June 2018 and during the IIHF World Junior Championship in Halifax in 2003 – and how we respond to claims of sexual misconduct. We understand why Canadians want answers about the allegations of sexual assault relating to 2018 and 2003, and they want to see appropriate consequences for any criminal behaviour or wrongdoing. Hockey Canada shares that desire and is taking every step within our power to support the ongoing investigations into the allegations by local police and independent investigators.
“Given the importance of these issues, we know Hockey Canada’s Members want us to explain to them directly how we are handling them. To be transparent, we want to explain our approach to sexual misconduct issues, how we have dealt with these two allegations in particular, and our commitment to continued improvement going forward.
Hockey Canada’s Approach to Sexual Misconduct
“To be clear, even one instance of sexual misconduct within our sport is too many. There is no place for abuse or maltreatment of or by the people who participate in hockey at any level. Hockey Canada wants people to feel empowered and safe when they speak up if they witness or experience unacceptable behaviour such as racism, bullying, sexual abuse or assault, or other forms of maltreatment.
“When Hockey Canada does learn of allegations of sexual misconduct, we take a series of steps that are intended to provide support to the victim, ensure there are thorough, independent investigations to identify wrongdoing, and put in place an external panel who can determine the appropriate sanction for any breach of our code of conduct.
“Hockey Canada will soon become a full signatory to the Sport Canada Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC), which will oversee all complaints, allegations and/or concerns with national programming. Hockey Canada will coordinate its efforts to investigate and sanction sexual misconduct with OSIC to ensure that any alleged incidents of sexual misconduct are fully investigated and addressed.”
That is the last official statement from Hockey Canada.
There has been, at least according to Scotia Bank, Canadian Tire, Telus, and Tim Hortons not enough action coming forward to put their brand’s images alongside Hockey Canada.
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has waded into the scandal saying that Canadian should create Canada Hockey if Hockey Canada doesn’t get their act together.
The Prime Minister says, “As a government, we have always taken allegations of sexual misconduct seriously in any organization.
“We have always acted and we will continue to do so.
“What Canadians are continuing to see come out of Hockey Canada is absolutely unacceptable. Parents across the country, like me, who have had kids in hockey, families and young kids care about hockey in this country. We know that we need to see a better organization than that.
“Hockey Canada’s tone deafness to the fact that it has lost the confidence of Canadians needs to end, which is why we stopped funding it and why we are calling for change.”