Hockey Canada: CEO, Board of Directors Resign

Hockey Canada's board of directors and CEO Scott Smith resigned on Tuesday amid a series of scandals over allegations of sexual assault and successive settlements paid out by the organization, dating back to 1989.

Hockey Canada: CEO, Board of Directors Resign
Image credit: Markus Spiske / Unsplash

Facts

  • Hockey Canada's board of directors and CEO Scott Smith resigned on Tuesday amid a series of scandals over allegations of sexual assault and successive settlements paid out by the organization, dating back to 1989.
  • Echoing Canada's minister for sport, who warned executives to leave Hockey Canada before they "burn[ed] it to the ground," the company said it recognized the "urgent need for new leadership and perspectives."
  • Hockey Canada has confirmed that an interim management committee will guide the organization until a new board, set to be elected on Dec. 17, appoints Smith's successor.
  • The organization has been facing criticism after a woman filed a $3.55M (CAD) lawsuit earlier this year over allegations of sexual assault in 2018 that involved members of the national junior team. Hockey Canada promptly settled for an undisclosed amount, allegedly without a proper investigation.
  • Local media later reported that the organization had two secret funds to pay out claims of abuse and sexual assault. In July, Hockey Canada officials testified that — not counting the 2018 settlement — the organization had paid out $7.6M (CAD) in nine cases since 1989.
  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau commented that the decision was "an important step forward," but there's "a culture to change." The resignations come three days after interim chair Andrea Skinner also left the organization.

Sources: USA Today, Guardian, Tsn, Globe and Mail, New York Times, and Athletic.

Narratives

  • Establishment-critical narrative, as provided by North Shore News. While a step in the right direction, the leadership change in Hockey Canada may simply not be enough to change the deep-rooted culture that sanctioned this misconduct. It also likely won't mend the organization's now tarnished reputation or bring back its biggest corporate sponsors. This may be a case of too little, too late.
  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by CBC. While the road to recovery is long, this is a great start to holding those responsible accountable and rehabilitating the organization's culture. After consistently digging their heels in and disastrously backing Smith and the board, the right decision has finally been made.