Halifax Hockey Canada is Shedding big name sponsors amid a major sexual assault scandal. The Exodus Could Potentially affect the 2023 World Junior Hockey Championships, Which will be hosted by Halifax And Moncton in just six months.
Scotiabank, Canadian Tire, Tim Hortons and Telus have suspended their sponsorships with Hockey Canada, including the 2022 World Junior Hockey Championship that will take place in Edmonton this August.
It recently came to light that a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted by eight CHL players in London Ontario, at a Hockey Canada golf event. The incident occurred in June 2018. Some of the accused players represented Canada at the World Junior Hockey Championship that year.
According to TSN, Hockey Canada settled a lawsuit with the unidentified woman earlier this year for an undisclosed amount of money but the eight players allegedly involved didn’t have to contribute to the settlement.
The incident outraged many because the players who were involved in the attack have yet to be identified. Hockey Canada claims they reported the incident to London police after learning of the allegations.
Huddle reached out to Grant MacDonald, the World Junior Hockey Championship lead in Halifax, who directed questions to Hockey Canada. A spokesperson for Hockey Canada said she didn’t have information on whether or not the loss of sponsors would affect the 2023 festivities, other than to say the hockey tournament is going ahead as scheduled In Halifax and Moncton.
Putting on such a big tournament costs millions of dollars. Sponsors play a big role in many of the events that happen in host cities during tournament festivities.
Scotiabank made waves on June 28 when it released an open letter from CEO Brian Porter, who didn’t hold back criticism of Hockey Canada.
“… like so many of you, I was appalled by the recent reports of alleged assault involving younger ambassadors of Canada’s game. The alleged behaviour in this current case is contrary to the beliefs and values that hockey is meant to embody, and those that we champion at Scotiabank, as Canada’s Hockey Bank.
“Scotiabank believes in hockey for all and in the power of sport to transform lives for the better. We believe we have a responsibility as hockey lovers and sponsors to contribute to positive change in the sport. And, we are committed to ensuring that hockey is safe, inclusive and accessible.”
In response to Scotiabanks’ critiques, Hockey Canada released a statement saying they understand why the company withdrew its sponsorship. The hockey organization also said it is dedicated to changing the culture inside in the sport.
“As we said to the Members of the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage last week, Hockey Canada is on a journey to change the culture of our sport and to make it safer and more inclusive, both at the rink and in our communities,” reads the statement, in part.
Telus sent a statement to Huddle, also expressing disgust at the allegations facing Hockey Canada players.
“We are appalled by the recent reports of assault involving members of the 2018 World Junior Championship team. While we will continue to support upcoming women’s events and grassroots initiatives dedicated to supporting youth in hockey, TELUS is pausing its sponsorship activation with Hockey Canada and the upcoming World Juniors tournament. We will redirect those funds to Canadian organizations that support women affected by sexual violence.”
Politicians on Parliament Hill have also expressed their outrage to the top executives of Hockey Canada, who are testifying under oath about the allegations and the financial settlement. The federal government plans to audit the finances of Hockey Canada to make sure taxpayer money wasn’t used in the settlement.
TSN reported that a nondisclosure agreement was signed as part of the settlement.
It also came to light, during the federal government’s hearings, that Hockey Canada receives two or three sexual assault complaints per year.
The federal government now says it is freezing its funding to Hockey Canada. The government gives the organization more than $7 million per year.