Hockey Canada: Former SCC judge to lead independent review

Former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Thomas Cromwell to lead an independent review of Hockey Canada’s governance amid calls for a change in leadership of the governing body over its handling of recent sexual assault allegations against players.

Hockey Canada said in a statement that the review will begin immediately and should provide a draft recommendation before its annual general meeting in November.

The governance review was announced by Hockey Canada in an open letter last month following news in May that members of the 2018 World Junior Team had been charged with gang sexual assault after a Hockey Canada gala in London, Ontario, and that Hockey Canada reached an agreement with the Complainant.

It was later revealed that Hockey Canada maintained a fund for uninsured payments, including sexual assault complaint settlements, which was funded by player fees. Hockey Canada has since said it no longer uses the fund to settle sexual assault claims.

Another gang sexual assault allegation involving the 2003 World Junior Team surfaced last month.

Hockey Canada President and CEO Scott Smith told a parliamentary hearing last week that he believes he is the right person to continue to lead the organization, but if the governance review in decided otherwise, he would be “ready to accept it”.

Thomas served on the Supreme Court of Canada from December 2008 to September 2016.

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