Scott Smith has demonstrated the same sensitivity in refusing to resign as CEO of Hockey Canada, as he did while overseeing the secret slush fund, the organization that paid, in part, claims related to victims of sexual assault. which were considered “insured liabilities”.
This decades-old National Equity Fund was partly financed by deducting a percentage of the registration fee from unknown minor hockey registrars. Imagine signing your son or daughter up to play hockey and later learning that part of the fee was to maintain a cover-up of alleged sexual abuse.
Smith, apparently brazen as he is tone deaf, told a parliamentary inquiry last week that he would not resign unless ordered by Hockey Canada’s board of governors.
And it’s not just Smith who needs to go.
In fact, each member of authority within the organization who had knowledge of this fund should recognize his responsibility to step down. This would include past chairman Tom Rainey, CFO Brian Cairo and any members of the board and upper field of Hockey Canada.
Those individuals were tasked with taking care of the children and establishing a blueprint of responsibility. They failed miserably and habitually in that mission. No matter how seriously they try to convince investigators and the outside world – and likely themselves – that they may be part of the solution, they represent an indelible part of the problem.
Testimony to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage revealed last week that Hockey Canada had paid $8.9 million to settle 21 cases of alleged sexual assault since 1989. The Slush Fund – my words – was used to settle those nine cases, for $7.6 million.
The existence of the National Equity Fund was reported by The Globe and Mail’s Grant Robertson in the wake of a scandal involving a previously undisclosed settlement with a 25-year-old woman who was an alleged victim of sexual assault by members of Team Canada’s 2018 Worlds. The junior team after the Hockey Canada competition in May 2018 in London, Ontario.
The horrific incident and its aftermath were exposed by groundbreaking reporting by TSN’s Rick Westhead and The Athletic’s Katie Strang. A special place is reserved for Westhead and Strang in the journalistic community for their indomitable desire, effort and dedication to shine a light on the dark corners of hockey culture. They represent the highest standard of our industry.
The scandal – Westhead also reported on an allegation of group sexual assault involving members of Team Canada’s 2003 world junior team, which is now under investigation – has proved to be a reckoning for Hockey Canada, which has, at least temporarily, been Much has been cut from national funding and from corporate sponsorship revenue.
This has raised serious questions not only in Canada, but certainly here in the United States as well – about the masculine, old boy mentality that infects the game from both top-down and bottom-up.
Canada deserved better than Hockey Canada. Did the game too. The organization needs cleaning. It needs a new voice, a new direction and new priorities. It needs new leadership. The past should make way for the future. The present regime should go.
After six weeks from training camp, a roster of unsigned free agents could challenge for a playoff spot – or the 2021-22 expansion would do just as credibly as Kraken.
It’s a function of flat caps that have squeezed teams and the free-agent class, as it would at least the next two summers until the NHLPA’s escrow loan to the league is paid in full. This is an act of extension of the 2020 Collective Bargaining Agreement which thoroughly considered the issue.
This time around, Sonny Milano is out, and so is Tyler Motte. Paul Stastany, Calvin de Haan, Evan Rodrigues, Zach Aston-Reese, PK Subban, Cody Eakin, Ryan Murray, Jay Beagle and Derek Stepan are unsigned. So is Brayden Holtby. So is Phil Kessel.
And even Nazem Qadri, who is apparently waiting for his favorite team to either free up enough cap space to sign him or register a pre-signed deal that would be less than a general manager’s bottom line. Desk drawer.
Jaroslav Halak is set to become the seventh goalscorer to play for both Rangers and Islanders. Neither of the original six set a winning record for both franchises.
The ranking of the sextet on their value for both clubs: 1. Glenn Healy; 2. Martin Biron; 3. Kevin Weeks; 4. Mike Dunham; 5. John VanBiesbrook; 6. Steve Valkett.
So maybe the Red Wings will never erect a statue of Sergei Fedorov outside their territory, but isn’t the Transcendent Center’s 1998 statute of limitations on violation of the alleged offer letter with Carolina?
Certainly the time has passed for Detroit to retire Fedorov’s No. 91.
The two biggest miscarriages of justice at the NHL awards in my career poll are: 1) Joe Thornton won the 2006 Hart Trophy instead of Jaromir Jagger; 2) Steve Yzerman wins 1998’s Con Smyth instead of Fedorov.
Finally, I see that the islanders have bought 25,000 lottery tickets. If they win the jackpot, Lou Lamorillo will let everyone know in a few months.