Former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell Heads Review of Hockey Canada

Former Supreme Court of Canada Judge Thomas Cromwell will lead an independent review of Hockey Canada‘s amid calls for a leadership change from the governing body over its handling of recent allegations of sexual assault against players.

Hockey Canada said in a statement that the review will begin immediately and is expected to provide an interim recommendation before its annual general meeting in November.

The review “will examine the organization and make recommendations to ensure that its governance structure, systems, staff and processes are aligned with the requirements and best practices of a national sports organization of similar size, scope and influence in Canada,” according to Hockey Canada.

will also review Hockey CanadaThe use of its “National Capital Fund”, which is maintained by member dues and used against uninsured liabilities. Until recently, that included settlement of sexual assault claims.

Cromwell sat on the Supreme Court of Canada from December 2008 to September 2016.

Daryl Fowler, president of Hockey Winnipeg, says an independent review of Hockey CanadaThe leadership of is far behind. Fowler says parents deserve to know where their registration fees are going

“An independent review for parents to know where their money is being spent is better than what we’ve been seeing in the past,” he said. “The money goes from the associations to the provinces to Hockey Canada … and the base players see very little in return.”

The governance review was announced by Hockey Canada in an open letter last month after news broke in May that members of the 2018 world junior team were charged with a group sexual assault after a Hockey Canada gala event in London, Ontario, and that Hockey Canada reached an agreement with the complainant.

The woman who filed the complaint was seeking more than $3.5 million in damages from Hockey Canadathe canadian Hockey League and the unnamed players.

Another allegation of group sexual assault surfaced last month involving the 2003 world junior team.

Details of the settlement are not public and none of the allegations have been proven in court.

Hockey Canada came under increased scrutiny after The Canadian Press reported that he used the “National Equity Fund” to, among other things, settle sexual assault claims.

Details of the fund, which were not included as part of the organization’s annual reports, are included in a July 2021 affidavit sworn by Glen McCurdie, who was then Hockey Canadavice president of insurance and risk management, as part of a lawsuit thrown by an injured player in Ontario

Last Wednesday, at a parliamentary inquiry hearing Hockey CanadaIn handling the 2018 allegations, Chief Financial Officer Brian Cairo testified that the organization has paid $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and sexual abuse claims since 1989, with $6.8 million related to serial abuser Graham James.

The figure does not include the undisclosed settlement amount of the 2018 lawsuit.

Hockey Canada he has since said he no longer uses the fund to settle sexual assault claims.

There was multiparty support for significant changes in Hockey Canada at Wednesday’s hearing, with John Nater (Conservative), Anthony Housefather (Liberal) and Peter Julian (NDP) among MPs who said Canadians have lost confidence in the current leadership.

Hockey Canada President and CEO Scott Smith said he believes he is the right person to continue to lead the organization, but if the governance review determines otherwise, he is “prepared to accept it.”

This report from The Canadian Press was first published on August 4, 2022.

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