Hockey Canada has settled 21 sexual misconduct claims, paying out $8.9 million in compensation, executives with Hockey Canada revealed before a committee of MPs in Ottawa.
The total number of cases and dollar figures around sexual misconduct settlements emerged gradually at the hearing. Of the total paid out, $6.8 million was for incidents related to Graham James, the former Canadian junior hockey coach who was convicted of sexually abusing players. Nine victims have been paid from Hockey Canada’s controversial equity fund, the existence of which has been revealed in recent weeks. (There have been 20 payouts from that fund in total since 1989, with nine being for sexual assaults.)
Hockey Canada president and chief executive officer Scott Smith came under blistering criticism during a government hearing on Wednesday examining how the organization responded to an alleged sexual assault in 2018 involving players on Canada’s World Junior team.
“There needs to be a bigger culture change in Hockey Canada than you are promising,” Liberal MP Anthony Housefather said to Smith. “There are times when good people have to step aside because the public has lost confidence in them. I’m afraid this is one of those times.”
Conservative MP John Nater also called on Smith to step down.
“For the good of hockey, for the good of the countless volunteers across this country, for the good work that countless, blameless people are doing in the sport of hockey, I strongly believe there needs to be new leadership within Hockey Canada,” Nater said. “Will you do that? Will you step down for new leadership to take over?”
Smith said he would not but understood that Canadians’ trust in Hockey Canada has been shaken.
TJHN will update this story as is continues.