Scotiabank suspended its sponsorship of Hockey Canada after the governing body paid an undisclosed sum last month to settle allegations that eight Canadian Hockey League players sexually assaulted a young woman after a Hockey Canada Foundation gala. in June 2018.
In an open letter published Tuesday in The Globe and Mail, Scotiabank Chairman and CEO Brian Porter said: “Like many of you, I was horrified by recent reports of alleged attacks involving young gambling ambassadors. Canada. The alleged behavior in this current case is contrary to the beliefs and values that hockey should embody, and those that we uphold at Scotiabank, such as the Hockey Bank of Canada.”
The letter said Scotiabank believes it has “a responsibility as fans and sponsors of hockey to contribute to positive change in the sport” and is “committed to ensuring hockey is safe, inclusive and accessible.”
The bank announced that it would cancel marketing and events related to the IIHF World Junior Championships this August in Edmonton and redirect those funds to other charity programs, including the Canadian Women’s Foundation, which supports victims of gender-based violence. .
He said he would suspend sponsorship activities until he was “confident that the right steps are being taken to improve the culture within the sport, both on and off the ice.”
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Earlier this month, Federal Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge ordered a forensic audit of Hockey Canada to ensure no public funds were used in the deal, as the organization’s executives had promised.
Last week, Hockey Canada President Scott Smith and CEO Tom Renney told the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage that they did not know how many players had been involved in an independent investigation into the alleged sexual assault.
The woman at the center of the accusations was seeking $3.55 million in damages from Hockey Canada, CHL and the unnamed players.
Last week, the Canadian government froze federal funding for Hockey Canada, saying the organization should join the newly created Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, which oversees independent investigations of alleged abuse and mistreatment.
Scotiabank said in its letter that it expected Hockey Canada to “fully cooperate with the federal government’s audit” and ensure that the bank’s “sponsorship funds were used as intended.”
The bank has sponsored hockey activities for more than a decade, including high-profile initiatives like the annual Canada Hockey Day celebration on the CBC. Last fall, it launched a Hockey For All marketing program to emphasize diversity, fairness and inclusion in the game, with an undisclosed financial commitment to help make hockey more accessible.
In 2019, Scotiabank became one of Hockey Canada’s international partners, a group of more than a dozen that includes Bauer, Chevrolet, Canadian Tire, Swiss Chalet and Skip the Dishes. The organization’s main partners include Esso, Nike, Telus, Tim Hortons and broadcasters TSN/RDS.
Government assistance made up just 6 percent of Hockey Canada’s revenue last year, according to the organization’s 2020-21 annual report. Forty-three percent of its revenue came from business development and partnerships such as Scotiabank sponsorship.