BRAMPTON, Ontario (AP) — The Canadian government has restored funding to Hockey Canada.
Hockey Canada made the announcement Sunday, adding Canadian sport minister Pascale St-Onge made it official, before the Canada-United States gold medal game at the world women’s hockey championship.
Hockey Canada saw its funding shut off by the federal government, and a number of sponsors have pulled funding since May when it was revealed a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players — including members of the 2018 world junior team — following a foundation gala in London, Ontario, in February 2018.
Hockey Canada and the woman quietly settled a $3.55 million lawsuit out of court.
The organization then announced members of the 2003 men’s world junior roster — the last time Halifax hosted — were also being investigated for a group sexual assault.
It was also revealed that Hockey Canada’s little-known National Equity Fund – maintained by fees collected from players across the country – had been used to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims.
Hockey Canada executives in July revealed that they paid out $8.9 million in sexual abuse settlements since 1989, excluding the 2018 deal.
In order to have its funding reinstated, Hockey Canada needed to meet three conditions outlined by St-Onge:
– Become a full-signatory to Abuse-Free Sport and the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (OSIC);
– Review and implement the recommendations from an independent governance review led by retired Justice Thomas Cromwell;
– And commit to more frequent reporting to the federal government.
“Today marks an important milestone for Hockey Canada in our journey to earn and maintain the trust of Canadians,” Hockey Canada chair Hugh L. Fraser said in a statement. “While I would like to thank Minister St-Onge and the government for their vote of confidence and for their ongoing efforts to prioritize safe sport in Canada, I also wish to stress that we still have work to do to change the culture of our sport.
“This is a significant moment for the future of Hockey Canada, and hockey in Canada, as it will enable us to further our commitment to supporting all levels of the sport”
Hockey Canada elected a new nine-member board in December after the previous board resigned and CEO Scott Smith was ousted as a result of the controversies.
Cromwell recommended the new board serve only a one-year term focused on improving the organization’s governance and safety across the sport.
Hockey Canada has yet to hire a new CEO.