Hockey Canada’s handling of the sexual assault allegations involving the 2018 World Junior Championship teams has read like a handbook of what not to do, and the game’s biggest advocates for victims of abuse have seen enough – none more than Sheldon Kennedy, who called for the resignation of Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith and the organization’s leadership group Tuesday.
Smith and president Tom Renney testified in June before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that the members of the 2018 World Junior team, eight of whom are accused of sexually assaulting an unidentified woman following a Hockey Canada event in June 2018, were not obligated to co-operate with the investigation into the matter. The revelation created massive fallout for the bungling of the investigation. The Canadian government froze funding for Hockey Canada and many high-profile corporate sponsors backed away from the organization.
In the weeks since, the NHL has committed to investigating the alleged incident, the London Police have reopened the investigation, and the players’ accuser has indicated she will participate in Hockey Canada’s reopened investigation. Hockey Canada has released a series of promises to improve its conduct, from an open letter to, earlier this week, an action plan for changing the “toxic behaviour” within the sport and promoting accountability, safety and inclusivity while establishing a tracking system for reporting abuse.