Canadian Tire ends partnership with Hockey Canada as fallout on organization grows
Canadian Tire Corp. has ended its partnership with Hockey Canada as the fallout from the sports organization’s handling of alleged sexual assaults mounts.
The retailer joins a list of high-profile sponsors, including Telus Corp., Scotiabank, Tim Hortons and Chevrolet Canada, who have withdrawn their support for the national hockey governing body.
Yet, while other corporate sponsors have suspended their support, Canadian Tire appears to be permanently severing its ties with Hockey Canada.
“Hockey Canada continues to resist significant change and we can no longer confidently move forward together,” Canadian Tire senior vice-president of communications Jane Shaw said Thursday.
Canadian Tire will redirect its support to hockey-related organizations that better align with company values, she said.
“We are committed to supporting hockey and sport that is inclusive and safe for all Canadians,” Shaw said. The Respect Group, which focuses on preventing bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, is one of many organizations where funds will be diverted, she said.
The move comes as Hockey Canada continues to defend its leadership and the way money was paid out in lawsuits involving alleged gang sexual assaults.
The organization has been under intense scrutiny since May, when it was revealed that it had settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players from the 2018 men’s junior hockey team. at a gala in London, Ontario that year.
Among other revelations that followed was Hockey Canada’s admission of dipping into minor hockey membership fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims.
Calls for a change in leadership at the struggling sports body intensified during parliamentary hearings in Ottawa this week, with the federal sports minister saying it was time to “clean house”.
But Hockey Canada interim president Andrea Skinner said she continues to support the CEO and management, insisting culture change can happen while maintaining leadership stability.
Meanwhile, Telus said it will not sponsor Hockey Canada’s men’s hockey programs for the 2022-23 season, including the upcoming World Junior Tournament.
“We are deeply discouraged by Hockey Canada’s lack of action and commitment to drive the necessary cultural change,” the company said. “We remain passionate fans and supporters of the sport of hockey and are committed to enabling systemic change to make hockey safe for all.”
Tim Hortons announced Wednesday that it will not be sponsoring any Hockey Canada men’s programming this season, including the junior men’s world championship in Halifax and Moncton.
Scotiabank said its decision to suspend support for men’s hockey at Hockey Canada, first announced in June, will remain in effect for the entire 2022-23 season.
“In our June open letter, we publicly called on Hockey Canada to keep the game at a higher level and we are disappointed with the lack of progress to date,” the bank said in a statement.
“From Hockey Canada, we expect a tangible commitment to transparency to Canadians, strong leadership, accountability to their stakeholders and the hockey community, and improved safety on and off the ice. In the end, our position has not wavered: the time for change is long overdue.
Chevrolet Canada suspended its sponsorship of Hockey Canada in June. The company confirmed on Thursday that the suspension remains in effect.
“We are seeking further clarity on the specific actions the organization has taken and will take following the alleged incidents of abuse,” Chevrolet’s parent company, General Motors, said in a statement.
“At GM, we do not tolerate abuse of any kind and we want Hockey Canada to once again set a positive example for all Canadians in all that it does.
Meanwhile, two provincial hockey organizations have also disavowed Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual assault allegations.
Hockey Quebec said this week it has lost faith in Hockey Canada and will not transfer funds to the national organization.
The Ontario Hockey Federation, the largest of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial hockey associations, has also asked Hockey Canada for a second time not to collect the $3 participant assessment fee from its members. for the 2022-2023 season.
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 6, 2022.
Companies in this story: (TSX:CTC, TSX:QSR, TSX:BNS, TSX:T)
Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press