Heads are falling in Canadian ice hockey. They are falling in droves. Shaken since last spring by the revelation in the media of a sexual scandal, the Canadian Hockey Federation announced on Tuesday 11 October the resignation of its president, Scott Smith, and with him the entire board of directors. “Recognising the urgent need for new leadership and a fresh perspective, the Board of Directors has announced that it is stepping down,” the body said in a statement. The origin of the case dates back to 2018. It concerns an alleged gang rape involving eight players of the junior national team. The victim, a young woman now aged 24, was financially compensated by Hockey Canada last spring. But at the same time, the media revealed that the federation had sought to hide the case, and that it had two secret funds used to compensate victims of sexual assault. Attacked from all sides, dropped by its private partners, the national body initially sought to justify its handling of the affair. But the pressure became too great, particularly from the political authorities, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It’s time for them to go,” he said of Hockey Canada’s leadership last June. An interim board of directors is expected to be appointed soon. “We expect it to be made up of people who want to make real change,” explained Canadian Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge in a statement.
— Published 12 October 2022