Review report: Hockey Canada knows which direction to take

Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell suggested Hockey Canada overhaul its bylaws and completely rethink recruiting for its board of directors Friday in his final report of the Independent Review of governance of the federation.

The recommendations of the independent third party were eagerly awaited after the wave of departures that hit the national body. In a real crisis since its mishandling of sexual assault and harassment cases came to light, Hockey Canada finds itself without a clear direction.

Chairman and CEO Scott Smith and interim board chair Andrea Skinner stepped down from their positions a month ago.

A first version of the Cromwell report was tabled on October 13 and focuses more on the use of the national equity fund. Governance was the focus of this in-depth review, with the goal of helping Hockey Canada regain the trust of its stakeholders and the public.

Note also that the organization has lost the support of several major sponsors in recent months, including Nike, Tim Hortons and Bauer.

Recruitment overhaul

The report therefore recommends that Hockey Canada use a new approach in its recruitment for the board of directors. It should be better balanced in terms of gender representation, ie a maximum of 60% of members of the same gender. A person who is or has recently been on a National Team should also be on one and the majority of individuals hired should be from outside of Hockey Canada.

It is considered imperative that the federation proceed with the hiring of “competent, experienced and diversified candidates”. Their applications should also be reviewed by a reputable specialist firm.

Still according to the Cromwell report, the board itself will have to appoint its chairman and ensure that the non-remuneration within the board persists.

Finally, according to the report, it would be wise to reorganize the working committees internally to ensure that they are still relevant. It would be important to give them modernized and rigorous mandates in order to give a clear role to each of the committees.

The findings of this report will be presented to the new board of directors following its election on December 17, Hockey Canada said.


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