What we realized from Day 2 of the Hockey Canada hearings

OTTAWA — The second day of testimony in entrance of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage promised to be action-packed, with appearances by present and former executives of Hockey Canada, all three commissioners of Canada’s main junior leagues in addition to the president of the Canadian Hockey League.

As soon as once more, loads was realized on Wednesday.

Listed here are the primary takeaways:


Scott Smith, who took over the management of Hockey Canada from the now-retired CEO Tom Renney on July 1, confronted regular and infrequently pointed calls by members of all 4 events to resign.

Smith, 55, has been with Hockey Canada since 1995. In that point, he has been chief working officer, president and now CEO.

Smith, in his opening assertion and all through the session, steadfastly maintained that he felt he was the chief to make the adjustments Hockey Canada wants to enhance.

“I do know you have got questions in regards to the management of Hockey Canada, about my management,” Smith stated in his opening assertion. “You need solutions and also you wish to see actual motion taken to finish the tradition of silence that enables poisonous habits and sexism to fester in corners of our sport. I do too. You could have requested for transparency. You have requested for accountability. You have requested for Hockey Canada to vary. I am right here to steer that change.”

That did not appear to go over nicely with the committee members. The NDP’s Peter Julian, Conservatives’ John Nater, Bloc Quebecois’ Sebastien Lemire and Liberals’ Anthony Housefather all straight referred to as, throughout their allotted query time, for change.

“Frankly, Mr. Smith, we agree, I am positive we agree, that for the great (of) hockey, for the great of the numerous volunteers throughout this nation, the great work that numerous innocent individuals are doing within the sport of hockey, I strongly consider there must be new management inside Hockey Canada,” Nater stated. “Will you do this? Will you step down for brand spanking new management to take over?”

To which Smith responded: “I consider I stated in my opening assertion that I am ready to tackle this duty for change with our sport. I consider I’ve obtained the expertise to do it. Ought to our board or the governance evaluate that we have outlined in our motion plan counsel that I am not the particular person, then I am ready to simply accept that.”

Added Julian: “I really feel, like many members of the Canadian public, that I’ve misplaced confidence in Hockey Canada, we now have misplaced confidence in Hockey Canada, and I believe it’s time for brand spanking new management.”

“I would like so as to add my title to the voices of those that say that regardless of your seeming sincerity, evidently you are actually not capable of carry in regards to the needed adjustments within the construction of Hockey Canada,” Lemire added, in French.

A subset of what we realized, chatting with organizational governance and efficiencies, is that Hockey Canada doesn’t take minutes for its in digicam, or non-public, conferences, which drew the ire of the committee (which takes minutes of its in digicam conferences). This was notably related as a result of Smith stated settlement discussions occurred in digicam.

“In my expertise, as a basic counsel of a multinational, you’d usually have board minutes that may state somebody being approved on behalf of Hockey Canada to signal the settlement settlement and the board authorizing a settlement settlement,” Housefather stated throughout the listening to. “You have now acknowledged that the board approved the utmost quantity (of the settlement)? The place is that minuted? Any board of administrators assembly?

“So, mainly, in keeping with Hockey Canada’s practices, you possibly can by no means show sooner or later whether or not they did or didn’t do what you stated. I can solely say you want higher authorized recommendation and also you want higher legal professionals. If that’s your follow, sir.”

Additional to that, Housefather introduced forth pointed questions on why Hockey Canada settled on behalf of the gamers it didn’t know the identities of.

“They’re both not being truthful or their choices are simply baffling,” Housefather advised Sportsnet afterward from Spain. “I’ve by no means heard of this,” added Housefather, who holds two regulation levels from McGill.

What it means: The Canadian authorities has restricted powers to really change Hockey Canada’s management, however it could, conceivably, work on influencing the Hockey Canada board of administrators, to which Smith reviews. An ongoing governance evaluate by Hockey Canada might spur that change.

However ought to new management be introduced in, given the tenor of the assertion issued by members of the ladies’s program earlier within the week, there’s hypothesis a lady might take over Hockey Canada. One MP stated that may not be sufficient, nevertheless.

“I believe it goes past that,” Julian advised Sportsnet on Tuesday. “I believe what we have seen from Hockey Canada is a whole lack of duty. Altering one particular person is not as essential as fully altering the tradition of Hockey Canada.”

Housefather stated that any potential change in management has to return from Hockey Canada’s board of administrators and membership.

“Some excellent individuals have made some very unhealthy choices, and sadly they’ve misplaced the belief of Canadians,” he stated of the present executives.


One of many main takeaways for hockey followers within the nation got here in a scrum after the primary session of the hearings, when Smith reiterated, in a response to a Sportsnet query, that Canada would take part within the upcoming 2022 World Junior Championship, to be held Aug. 9-20 in Edmonton. Smith stated Hockey Canada wished to carry the match for the gamers, particularly after the match was postponed from the standard December-January window due to rising COVID-19 infections.

What it means: Certain, the match will go forward with the host nation included, however it can absolutely proceed underneath a cloud. Until they’re shielded from it, taking part gamers, particularly from Canada, determine to be requested about Hockey Canada and the investigation.


Hockey Canada executives confronted a number of questions from committee members about using funds put aside to deal with sexual assault claims. One such fund, the Nationwide Fairness Fund, drew specific consideration.

Hockey Canada chief monetary officer Brian Cairo, a late addition to the invitees listing, spoke to questions in regards to the fund.

“Out of the Nationwide Fairness Fund, 9 settlement funds have been made, totaling $7.6 million; $6.8 million of that’s Graham James-related incidents,” Cairo stated. “And on insured settled claims, (there have been) 12 in nature, for a complete of $1.3 million. One perpetrator has created 4 of these incidents and accounts for $1 million of these.” These incidents date again to 1989.

What it means: Though it sounds suspect, and the information of “slush” funds to cowl sexual assault claims precipitated outrage, it apparently is not all that uncommon. Throughout his session in entrance of the committee after the high-profile session involving the hockey executives, Barry Lorenzetti, founder, president and CEO of Hockey Canada insurance coverage dealer BFL Canada, testified that it was “prudent threat administration” to have a reserve fund for sexual assault. He added that with out such a fund, Hockey Canada might need needed to enhance registration charges to cowl the price of settlements.


Parliament is anticipated to renew in September, and a few MPs on the Heritage committee consider that’s when hearings will proceed. A date has but to be scheduled by committee chair Hedy Fry to debate subsequent steps, together with when hearings would resume, however Parliament just isn’t completed with this matter by a protracted shot.

What it means: Extra testimony by Hockey Canada officers and AIG, Hockey Canada’s insurer, are forward. Additionally count on to see appearances by Hockey Canada board members, who so far haven’t been referred to as to testify. Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Que., lawyer Michael Brind’Amour is the chair of the board.

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