Guelph prof believes new, diverse exec team would restore trust at Hockey Canada

Dr. Ann Pegoraro is echoing calls for the executives at Hockey Canada to step down following its handling of sexual assault allegations.

Ann Pegoraro, the Lang Chair in Sport Management at the University of Guelph, believes a complete overhaul is needed at Hockey Canada.

Pegoraro said the Heritage Committee hearings in Ottawa into the sexual assault and abuse allegations exposed the lack of leadership at the top of the sport’s governing body.

READ MORE: Sport Canada was aware of Hockey Canada allegations in 2018, but didn’t tell minister

Pegoraro said the current executive needs to step down in order for Hockey Canada to regain the public’s trust.

“One of the problems is that we are very insular, and we use the same perspectives in terms of management,” she said.

Pegoraro suggested appointing people who don’t necessarily have a hockey background.

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Click to play video: 'Hockey Canada paid $8.9M to settle sexual misconduct claims since 1989'
Hockey Canada paid $8.9M to settle sexual misconduct claims since 1989

“If you are coaching, you do need to understand the game. But if you are managing it as a business, then I think some different perspectives are welcome.”

Pegoraro also suggested having a set of standards in place that would ensure parents and participants that the organization is a safe place to play

She noted that these non-profit sports organizations often receive bonuses for winning a medal.

“Fifty thousand dollars for a medal win — it seems out of character,” Pegoraro said. “We know from research that these types of performance-enhancing incentives would let people turn their heads in the pursuit of winning.”

READ MORE: Ottawa freezing Hockey Canada funding amid firestorm over alleged sex assaults

The Heritage Committee is holding hearings on how Hockey Canada handled two sexual assault allegations involving its world junior team.

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One allegedly took place in 2018, the other in 2003.

One of the MPs on the committee is Perth-Wellington MP John Nater, who also sits as one of the vice-chairs.

Nater told Hockey Canada chief executive Scott Smith during a session of the committee meeting that Smith and others at the top of Hockey Canada should step down “for the good of hockey, and for the good of the countless volunteers across the country.”

— with files from the Canadian Press

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