Manitoba parents, experts call for change over Hockey Canada scandal

There are calls for change from Manitoba hockey parents following a sexual assault scandal involving Hockey Canada.

A portion of the fees parents pay for their kids to play hockey were used to settle sexual assault and abuse claims and while the organization is now committing to make changes – many feel a major overhaul is needed to remove deeply-rooted problems in the sport.

“I find that especially with elite athletes, a lot of things just get pushed under the rug and that’s not a message any youth should be taught,” said Christine Golding, whose 12-year-old daughter is a goalie who’s played AA hockey.

Hockey Canada’s response to the allegation has been the focus of parliamentary hearings this week in Ottawa, hearings, where some politicians called on Hockey Canada’s CEO to resign over a scandal Winnipeg hockey parent Krissy Cress, called shameful and disgusting.

“Everybody’s disgusted,” Cress said. “I can’t think of one person who isn’t.”

Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit in May filed by a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight former Canadian Hockey League players following a Hockey Canada event in London in June 2018.

It then came to light the organization uses a little-known fund maintained through a portion of the player registration fees it collects from parents and participants across the country to settle sexual assault and sexual abuse claims.

“That was quite shocking,” Cress said. “I would like to not pay the $25 fee towards the registration.”

Former Olympian and University of Winnipeg professor emerita, Sandra Kirby, researches sexual harassment and abuse in sport and said parents are right to be concerned.

“Hockey takes you then hangs onto you for dear life,” Kirby said. “It wants you to play with your team but also do spring camps and summer camps as if you’re on the path to the NHL.”

Kirby was one of 28 experts to sign a letter to Canada’s sport minister and members of parliament outlining ways to address the sexual violence and misogyny they argue is deeply rooted in men’s hockey.

She said participants are often shaped by the game from a young age in what can be a highly-sexualized culture and one with a win at all costs mentality.

“It’s a culture threaded through with sexual innuendo and streaks of violence which are relatively encouraged by the whole culture of hockey so the whole thing needs to change,” Kirby said.

Hockey Canada has already said it’ll stop using the fund participants pay into to settle sexual assault claims, but Golding has seen little else to convince her that meaningful change will be made.

“They should be taught at a young age that what they’re doing is wrong and they shouldn’t be doing that but when they make mistakes there should be consequences,” Golding said.

The allegations in the 2018 sexual assault claim have not been tested in court.

Hockey Canada and London police have both reopened investigations into the matter since the case was settled.

Hockey Canada’s CEO Scott Smith said he believes he’s the right person to lead Hockey Canada to a new place but some have said they’re not convinced enough is being promised under his leadership to restore people’s confidence in the organization. 

View original article here Source