Former Hockey Canada exec ‘sorry’ for lack of tips on intercourse assault claims |


2022-11-16 04:08:53

Bob Nicholson is happy with a lot of what he achieved throughout his time main Hockey Canada.

He pushed to enhance on-ice security and develop the nationwide sports activities group’s monetary would possibly.

Its former president and CEO additionally has regrets.

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Nicholson apologized Tuesday throughout testimony in entrance of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa for not placing written tips in place on how Hockey Canada ought to deal with sexual assault claims when he was on the helm from 1998 to 2014.

“I want I might return,” Nicholson advised MPs through video hyperlink. “I want I might have put extra insurance policies in. My job, as CEO, was to essentially run the operations. Insurance policies got here from the board, and I’m not deflecting that again to the board. I used to be the CEO, and I ought to have been encouraging extra insurance policies.

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“That was one thing that I might have favored to have carried out — I didn’t — and I’m sorry about that.”

Nicholson added he’s glad with how the federation handled sexual assault and abuse claims all through his tenure, which included settlements associated to disgraced former junior coach Graham James, however these conferences shouldn’t have been held in digital camera with out minutes being taken.

“We didn’t deal with that accurately,” Nicholson stated. “We needed to focus extra on the off-ice conditions with gamers. I used to be dealing loads with on-ice (security).”

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Hockey Canada has been beneath an intense microscope for its perceived poisonous tradition since Could when it was revealed the group quietly settled a lawsuit after a lady claimed she was sexually assaulted by eight gamers, together with members of the nation’s world junior workforce, following a 2018 gala in London, Ont.

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The federal authorities and company sponsors shortly paused or halted monetary help, however the ugly headlines continued with the revelation of the so-called Nationwide Fairness Fund and the way it was used to pay out settlements. The existence of two different funds for related functions has been subsequently revealed.

Hockey Canada, which stated it had paid out tens of millions to victims for the reason that late Nineteen Eighties, then introduced members of the 2003 males’s world junior roster had been being investigated for a bunch sexual assault.

Nicholson, who’s now chairman of the Edmonton Oilers, stated he solely discovered of the scenario in July on the NHL draft and has not been contacted by police.

Not one of the allegations have been confirmed in court docket.

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Former Hockey Canada president and CEO Scott Smith resisted requires his ouster within the wake of the widening scandal all summer time and early fall earlier than lastly leaving the group Oct. 11 on the heels of a disastrous heritage committee listening to.

The board of administrators resigned the identical day. A brand new board is about to be elected utilizing recent tips subsequent month.

Tom Renney, who preceded Smith, assumed the CEO function after Nicholson departed in 2014 earlier than retiring on the finish of June.

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Hockey Canada senior vice-president of technique Pat McLaughlin testified Tuesday the group has paid $1.6 million to disaster administration agency Navigator since July, however emphasised no public funds have been used.

He added misplaced or restructured company partnerships have price Hockey Canada as a lot as $24 million in funding.

“This has been extraordinarily difficult,” stated McLaughlin, who additionally appeared through video hyperlink.

“It comes at a major price to us, with out query.”

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An unbiased third-party governance evaluation led by former Supreme Courtroom Justice Thomas Cromwell launched earlier this month made a lot of suggestions associated to management, transparency and the way the Nationwide Fairness Fund — maintained by registration charges and used to pay uninsured liabilities, together with sexual assault and abuse claims — must be managed shifting ahead.

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“I’m assuming that Hockey Canada has actually discovered from this and they’ll change their methods,” Nicholson stated.

MPs repeatedly requested Nicholson about Hockey Canada’s use of non-disclosure agreements. He confirmed former ladies’s coach Dan Church and two assistants signed NDAs after leaving this system forward of the 2014 Olympics.

“It was a lot of very sensitive topics,” Nicholson stated. “I’m positive that was the explanation why it got here again to my desk to have (the) NDA signed.”

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He didn’t consider any gamers signed NDAs throughout his tenure and couldn’t say “precisely” what number of allegations of sexual assault got here throughout his desk over his 16 years in cost.

McLaughlin, who wasn’t capable of present particulars of any severance Smith acquired when he left Hockey Canada, stated it wasn’t “misplaced on me” previous and present officers had been making an look at a fourth spherical of conferences on Parliament Hill.

“We now have heard you,” he stated. “Hockey Canada should change, and it should achieve this urgently. Canadians count on and deserve significant motion. And our group fairly truthfully, has been too gradual to behave.”

“Our group has made errors,” he continued. “Our failure to behave sooner has had a major toll on kids, a major toll on dad and mom and volunteers. We’re deeply sorry for that.

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“Make no mistake, with out these of us, there is no such thing as a Hockey Canada.”

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