Bauer Hockey is shedding its partnership with Hockey Canada as the national sporting body continues to draw criticism for its handling of allegations of sexual assault.
“The allegations against and the continued and repeated breaches of trust by the leadership of Hockey Canada are extremely concerning and warrant a change,” Bauer CEO Ed Kinnaly and vice president of global marketing Mary-Kay Messier said in a statement Tuesday.
“We have lost confidence in the leadership of Hockey Canada.”
The company said it was suspending its role as the official outfitter of Hockey Canada’s men’s teams and its sponsorship of men’s tournaments.
Hockey Canada will be able to purchase equipment for men’s programs, with profits going to hockey programs for girls, women and other underrepresented communities, Bauer said.
The hockey gear manufacturer will continue to supply gear for the women’s programs.
“Our goal is to drive change in management and policy, not to influence the athletes,” Bauer said.
“Hockey Canada has focused solely on competitive hockey for too long. We believe that sweeping changes are needed to ensure the mission focuses on growing the game and creating a fun, safe atmosphere that welcomes everyone who wants the opportunity to play.”
Bauer’s move follows similar announcements from sponsors including Nike, Canadian Tire and Tim Hortons.
It also comes after Andrea Skinner resigned as interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors.
Canada’s Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge called Skinner’s resignation a step in the right direction, but said Hockey Canada must continue the transition to a new leadership team.
“This must now be followed by a process of meaningful change in Hockey Canada’s values and culture,” St-Onge said in a statement Sunday. “We hope that the remaining members will actively work toward the transition to a new leadership and governance team.”
This report from The Canadian Press was first published on October 11, 2022.