Hockey Canada board resigns after court recommendation

A former Supreme Court justice has recommended sweeping change at Hockey Canada a day before the embattled sports organization’s president and CEO and board of directors resigned on Tuesday.

Hockey Canada released a memo from Justice Thomas Cromwell on Thursday along with his interim report on the organization’s governance.

The memo, dated Monday, said « there can be no serious debate. » Hockey Canada management had lost the trust of key stakeholders and calls for change had to be heeded.

Cromwell recommended that Hockey Canada put in place a board and board chair who agree to serve for only one year as a transition board. The transition board will be tasked with addressing « many public concerns about the organization’s leadership team. »

Hockey Canada announced the departure of its president and CEO, Scott Smith, on Tuesday, and the entire board of directors has resigned. The board will remain in place until a new board is elected at Hockey Canada’s annual general meeting on Dec. 17.

“I do not recommend that all directors retire immediately for the following reasons. The company would not be able to act without advice,” Cromwell wrote.

In his memorandum, Cromwell set out four main tasks for the transition board:

— Respond, in collaboration with Hockey Canada members, to the series of governance changes that will be published in its final report;

— Respond to numerous public concerns about its management team;

— Begin to repair fractured relationships with stakeholders;

— Ensure operational stability

“I take no pleasure in providing these recommendations,” Cromwell wrote. « Nevertheless, I do so in order to promote what I consider to be the best interests of Hockey Canada and the sport itself. »

Cromwell was tasked in August with undertaking a comprehensive governance review of Hockey Canada after it emerged the organization had reached an undisclosed settlement with a woman who alleged she had been sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of the country’s 2018 World Junior Team.

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 13, 2022.


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