Hockey Canada: Which sponsors have withdrawn or suspended funding?

Hockey Canada’s CEO, along with the entire board, formally agreed to step down on Oct. 11, following a massive outflow of support from sponsors.

According to a statement regarding changes to the organization’s leadership, Hockey Canada will establish an « interim management committee » to lead the organization until the next slate of directors appoints a new CEO.

With the election of a new board now slated for Dec. 17, the organization is calling for candidates to “shape the future” of Hockey Canada.

This follows an emergency meeting held before the weekend by Hockey Canada’s Board of Directors as it came under increasing pressure from major sponsors, political leaders and provincial organizations due to the the group’s apparent reluctance to address its handling of the alleged sexual assaults.

Two provincial organizations have called for the resignation, with Hockey Manitoba saying there needs to be « a change in the leadership of Hockey Canada » and Hockey Nova Scotia saying it has « lost confidence in the senior management of Hockey Canada ».

Hockey Nova Scotia has also confirmed that it has cut funding to Hockey Canada for the 2022-23 season.

Ever since news broke that Hockey Canada’s registration fee helped pay for a multimillion-dollar settlement to address sexual assault allegations, the organization has taken on heat.

Until the Oct. 11 announcement, Hockey Canada had firmly rejected a leadership change, despite calls for action.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had even suggested that if hockey’s national governing body continued to resist calls to deal with its handling of sexual assault claims and funding, the organization could be replaced.

TSN, which will host the next World Junior Hockey Championship in Atlantic Canada, also called for action.

The sports broadcaster, owned by CTV’s parent company Bell Media, is being urged « Hockey Canada to enact meaningful changes to provide a hockey environment grounded in a culture of respect. »

Former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy, who said he was sexually abused for years by a coach while playing with the Swift Current Broncos, said it was obvious Hockey Canada could not not continue like this.

« The picture is clear that the organization as a whole and its leaders have lost the trust and support not only of citizens in Canada, but of all of its corporate sponsors, » Kennedy said.

While some sponsors initially paused their support when allegations surfaced this summer, including BDO and Esso Canada, here are the corporate sponsors who have confirmed they are withdrawing their support or maintaining their hiatus, as the controversy continues to unfold. Here’s what those sponsors said about their decisions:


“After careful consideration, Canadian Tire Corporation has made the decision to end its partnership with Hockey Canada. In our view, Hockey Canada continues to resist significant change and we can no longer move forward with confidence. Canadian Tire Corporation is proud of its commitment to the sport and will continue to invest in our beloved national game by redirecting support to hockey-related organizations that better align with our values. The Respect group, which focuses on preventing bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, is one of many organizations where funds will be diverted. We are committed to supporting hockey and the sport that is inclusive and safe for all Canadians,” Canadian Tire Corporation Senior Vice President of Communications Jane Shaw said in a statement Oct. 5.


« Today’s news is the first step for Hockey Canada to do what is necessary to restore the faith and confidence of Canadians, » Tim Hortons Media Relations said in an email to BNN Bloomberg on May 11. october. “We will not consider restoring our support to Hockey Canada. men’s programming in Canada until we are confident that progress is being made and that Canadians once again believe in the leadership of the organization and its ability to do what is right for the sport we all love.

Earlier this week, Tim Hortons issued a statement urging Hockey Canada to take « firm and definitive action. »

“We are deeply disappointed with the lack of progress Hockey Canada has made to date. We officially informed Hockey Canada this week that we have withdrawn from all men’s hockey programming for the 2022-23 season, including the Junior Men’s World Championships. We continue to fund Canada’s women’s and para hockey teams, as well as youth hockey, » Tim Hortons Media Relations said in a statement Oct. 5.


« Chevrolet Canada welcomes the leadership changes announced today by Hockey Canada, » GM Canada executive director of communications Jennifer Wright said in an email sent to BNN Bloomberg on Oct. 11. “We see this as a step in the right direction if Hockey Canada is to address its culture and organization now. We love hockey at Chevrolet Canada and will continue to evaluate our support and sponsorships going forward to ensure this organization, under its new leadership, aligns with our values.

On October 6, Cherolet Canada confirmed that it had withdrawn from its sponsorship activities with Hockey Canada as it seeks « further clarity on the specific actions the organization has taken and will take following the alleged incidents. of abuse ».

« At GM, we do not tolerate abuse of any kind and want Hockey Canada to once again set a positive example for all Canadians in all that it does, » Wright said in a statement.


“Our Hockey Canada sponsorship pause remains in effect. This primarily means a continued pause in our support for men’s hockey throughout the 2022/2023 season, including the upcoming World Junior Championship. In our June open letter, we publicly called on Hockey Canada to keep the game at a higher level and we are disappointed with the lack of progress to date. From Hockey Canada, we expect a concrete commitment to transparency with Canadians, strong leadership, accountability with their stakeholders and the hockey community, and improved safety on and off the ice. Ultimately, our position has not wavered: the time for change is long overdue,” Scotiabank Media Relations said in a statement Oct. 5.


“We are deeply discouraged by Hockey Canada’s lack of action and commitment to drive the necessary cultural change. TELUS will not be sponsoring Hockey Canada’s men’s hockey programs for the 2022-2023 season, including the upcoming World Junior Tournament. We remain passionate fans and supporters of the sport of hockey and are committed to enabling systemic change to make hockey safe for all,” Telus Media Relations said in a statement Oct. 6.


“Like many Canadians, we have been deeply disturbed by the recent allegations and as such have terminated our partnership with Hockey Canada,” a spokesperson for Skip The Dishes said in an email to CTV News on Tuesday. October 6.


“Empire has been a proud sponsor of the National Women’s Hockey Team for several years. When our contract with Hockey Canada expired at the end of June, we chose not to renew our sponsorship because we were disgusted by all the allegations and, equally important, Hockey Canada’s reluctance to make meaningful changes to regain the confidence of Canadians and making sure everyone feels welcome and safe when playing the sport. We fully intend to continue supporting the National Women’s Hockey Team and are currently exploring options that will allow us to do so directly, unrelated to Hockey Canada, » Sobeys Media Relations said in an email. to CTV News on October 6.


« Nike believes that sport should create a safe and supportive environment for all athletes. We are deeply concerned by the ongoing reports regarding Hockey Canada. We believe that significant and substantial action is needed to support athletes and transform hockey for future generations. After further review of Hockey Canada’s response, we have suspended our relationship with the federation and suspended our support. We will continue to monitor the situation and await further information regarding Hockey Canada’s actions to respond to the findings. of these investigations and create a safe environment for all athletes, » Nike Media Relations said in an email to CTV News on Oct. 7.


“The allegations against and the continued and repeated breach of trust by Hockey Canada executives is extremely troubling and warrants change,” said Bauer CEO Ed Kinnaly and Vice President of Global Marketing Mary -Kay Messier, in a statement Tuesday. “We have lost faith in the leadership of Hockey Canada. For too long, Hockey Canada has focused solely on competitive hockey. We believe an overall shift is needed to ensure the mission is focused on growing the game and creating a fun and safe atmosphere that welcomes everyone who wants the opportunity to play. »

With files from Kevin Gallagher of CTV News


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