Telus withdraws sponsorship of Hockey Canada’s men’s programs amid ongoing scandal
Telus says it will no longer fund Hockey Canada’s men’s program for next season, amid disappointment with the body’s handling of sexual assault allegations, making it the second major sponsor to raise money in as many days.
“We are deeply discouraged by Hockey Canada’s lack of action and commitment to bring about the necessary cultural change,” the company said in a statement released Thursday morning.
Telus will not sponsor Hockey Canada’s men’s hockey programs for the 2022-23 season, including the upcoming Junior World Tournament. We remain passionate fans and supporters of the sport of hockey and are committed to enabling systemic change to make hockey safe for everyone .”
The telecommunications giant is considered a “Prime Minister” sponsor. The company has sponsored Hockey Canada since 2004 and extended that partnership in 2017 until 2022.
Telus had previously withdrawn support for the Junior World Hockey Championship in August.
On Wednesday, Tim Hortons announced it would discontinue sponsorship of all of Hockey Canada’s men’s hockey programs for the 2022-2023 season, including the Men’s Junior World Championships.
The move is the latest response to how the hockey organization has responded to allegations that it mishandled allegations of gang rape involving its players.
Hockey Canada has confirmed that it has paid $8.9 million in settlements to 21 complainants since 1989 with claims of sexual misconduct against its players.
CBCs The Fifth Estate identified at least 15 cases of alleged sexual assault in groups involving junior hockey players that have been under police investigation since 1989 — half of which came to light in the past decade through a review of public records.
Hockey Canada says no to management changes
The companies’ decisions are mounting business pressure on mounting calls to ice hockey’s national governing body for a change in its leadership following a widespread appearance by one of its executives before a parliamentary committee this week.
Interim board chairman Andrea Skinner defended Hockey Canada, saying it has an “excellent reputation” and arguing against scapegoating “hockey as the hub of toxic culture”.
Skinner is adamant that Hockey Canada will not make changes in management, despite a request from Federal Sports Secretary Pascale St-Onge, who has said she believes mass resignations from the governing body are needed to restore public confidence. .
“I think so — it baffles the mind that Hockey Canada continues to chase Canada,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.
“Parents across the country are losing faith or have lost faith in Hockey Canada. Certainly, politicians here in Ottawa have lost faith in Hockey Canada.”
In a statement, Imperial Oil, another major sponsor, said it has not yet made a decision on supporting the 2023 Men’s Junior World Championship through the Esso brand.
“As previously mentioned, we continue to find this issue of great concern and have regularly communicated our expectations to Hockey Canada that concrete steps need to be taken to address safety concerns and ensure rapid culture change,” said spokesperson Keri Scobie.
“Imperial remains committed to ongoing support for the Canadian hockey community and youth and women’s grassroots programs across the country, as we have done for over 40 years.”