The latest development in the Hockey Canada controversy saw Michael Brind’Amour step down as chairman of the board with immediate effect on Friday night.
“My last term ends in November 2022 and I know there is no need to wait for a new era. Immediate action is essential to address the important challenges facing our organization and our sport,” said Brind’Amour in a Hockey Canada news report. release.
The board of directors and members of Hockey Canada will meet in the coming days to determine the next steps and appoint an interim chairman.
The next board election is scheduled for the annual meeting in November.
In June, the organization’s access to public funds was frozen by the federal government over its response to an alleged sexual assault and subsequent out-of-court settlement.
A woman filed a $3.5 million lawsuit in April alleging that eight hockey players, including members of the Canadian junior team, had sexually assaulted her in 2018. Hockey Canada reached a settlement with a young woman a month later.
The complainant says she has always fully cooperated with a police investigation into her case, despite Hockey Canada initially saying it would not.
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Recently, retail giant Canadian Tire and telecommunications company Telus, among others, ended their sponsorship of Hockey Canada.
And last month, Hockey Canada executives testified before a House of Commons committee Wednesday that they paid $8.9 million for sexual abuse settlements to 21 complainants since 1989 from the “National Equity Fund,” which they said is generated. through membership fees and investments.
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“I have listened carefully and intently to comments from Canadians about the culture of our sport and our organization, and about our actions and leadership,” Brind’Amour said in a statement. “I understand that the actions we have taken in recent weeks are part of the solution.
“I am reassured that the Honorable Thomas Cromwell, CC, has agreed to lead a governance review of our organization that will help us make the necessary changes. I am confident that the recommendations will guide the organization into a future of desired change.”
On Friday, Canada’s 13 regional hockey federations announced that they are threatening to withhold membership payments from Hockey Canada, given the organization’s alleged mishandling of allegations of sexual assault in 2018.
Led by Hockey Quebec, the organizations sent a letter on Thursday requesting a detailed action plan and an “extraordinary” meeting in late November to allay their concerns.
The statement of claim, which has not been proven in court, said the hockey players brought golf clubs to the hotel room to further intimidate her, told the woman to shower after the assault and told her to say she was sober while she was videotaped a consent video.
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As first reported by the Globe and Mail earlier this week, the complainant’s lawyer, Robert Talach, issued a statement saying that in June 2018 his client was clear to police that she wanted criminal charges.
Talach provided a series of new details about the case, including that his client spoke to a detective within days of the alleged assault and ordered a physical examination at a hospital.
His client also later gave her clothes to police for investigation and met two more occasions that summer, Talach said. After seven months, she was told that the investigation was closed and that no charges would be filed.
Following an outbreak of public outcry, the London police chief recently announced it would conduct an internal review to “determine any additional channels of investigation”.
Talach said his law firm set up a lie detector test for the woman and she passed. The results have since been provided to investigators from Police and Hockey Canada and the NHL, which launched its own investigation in May.
Talach confirmed that his client will not sit down for an interview with Hockey Canada or the NHL investigators, as she has already provided an eight-page statement, five pages of photos and 4.5 pages of text messages.