Hockey: The True Canadian Uniter Even If Hockey Canada on Thin Ice

Hockey Canada not respecting Zamboni stop; Zamboni’s still working

Rahman Mohamed

It’s true!  The Federal AND Provincial governments, the public, Canadian celebrities and large corporations actually agree on something (unsurprisingly it’s hockey).  Although the Toronto Blue Jays are in the post-season with home field advantage, first time since 2016, Hockey Canada is the centre of sports talk.

The Casual Fan of hockey, baseball, and politics knows something is happening, but the question for many: what?

Hockey Canada is the official head organisation for hockey in Canada.  Together with managing Canada’s international teams it has a database with leagues across the country – you can actually find a minor league in rural Ontario governed by the Ontario Hockey Federation and other provinces in a site that’s run by the federal government.

Quebec already said they’re pulling out of Hockey Canada – Quebec residents can still register in minor leagues and provincial run programs by Hockey Quebec but none of the registration fees from the province will go to Hockey Canada.  The Ontario Hockey Federation did the same, just letting Quebec doing it earlier and doing it more politely than Quebec, asking Hockey Canada to not collect instead of saying its not giving (unknown if it’s a prediction of Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs coming season in the NHL).  A day after Ontario, Nova Scotia said it’s doing it the Quebec way.  On October 7 New Brunswick chose the Quebec route.  BC is unsure; Newfoundland is waiting for the results of the review before deciding like PEI.  Manitoba called for a leadership change and Alberta gave Hockey Canada a deadline; the buzzer is nearing.  Saskatchewan, Northwestern Ontario, Eastern Ontario, and Hockey North haven’t entered the face-off with Hockey Canada yet but the game is becoming more tense.

The reason Hockey Canada is looking at never seeing the change room again (forget about the penalty box): icing with the sexual assault settlement fund.

Provincial hockey organisations give part of their funds to Hockey Canada.  The funds come from different hockey programs and minors, the ones that register.  The funds are expected to be used by Hockey Canada to fund national programs including the national teams.  Not only has it stepped out of the changeroom and been an icing, offside for some, it’s nationally known that Hockey Canada was using part of the funds for insurance.  There were accusations of sexual assault by Canada’s Nation Men’s Junior Hockey team over the decades.  CBC’s Fifth Estate found that sexual assault accusations have been going on for decades.  Revelations from many show that the “Icing Insurance Fund” was there to make settlements for assault accusations, to evade court, to avoid time in the penalty box for fighting.  Many are outraged.

Multiple high profile cross-Canada corporations like Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons have said they’re pulling out or suspending their sponsorships with Hockey Canada (their logos won’t be on jerseys and Hockey Canada won’t see their money any time soon).  Not only that Hockey Canada’s Owner, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has called them out.  He’s even called for bringing an end to it and starting a new league called “Canada Hockey”.

Hockey has been a long time male dominated sport, one where someone playing becomes a ‘man’.  Many have called out the leadership and assault insurance to not be acting to change the culture.  The Woman side of hockey was seen lighter but it can’t be denied that the women’s side is coming up in popularity and some of Canada’s Women’s National Team are more influential.  Hayley Wickenheiser (4-time Gold Medallist, Toronto Maple Leaf assistant coach, and a woman) has even called for a change in the Hockey Canada leadership that media showed; CTV reported Wickenheiser said

When you make a mistake you should own up to it and you should make change and that’s what we need, is change

after being inducted to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday, October 6.  Hockey Canada controls a great deal of Canada’s National Teams including funding, jerseys, and more; Wickenheiser said

I spent 23 years of my life around Hockey Canada and it’s beyond disappointing and disgraceful what I’ve seen.

Note: change in leadership is what Hockey Canada’s owner and many sponsors have called for (seems Hockey Canada GM and Finance like the changeroom and don’t want to hand in their keys so Tim Horton’s said “No more free coffee” while Canadian Tire says “We’re not giving you anymore Canadian Tire Cash”).

Wickenheiser says that hockey is bigger than Hockey Canada, that “the lights will always be on in rinks” across Canada and the Zambonis will be running. The Hockey Canada scandal has gone global and has been called to bring shame to the sport and not taking action to change the culture of the sport.

Hockey Canada is looking closer and closer at a complete and total expulsion from the game but hockey is looking at continuing as an emblem of Canada. It’s a sign that Mom Hot Chocolate will always be a craving never fully fulfilled in Canada (just like the need for shovels in Winnipeg in March).

Share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s