Hockey Alberta announced in a statement Friday morning that it won’t withhold funding from Hockey Canada as the national body continues to face criticism over its handling of sexual assault allegations.
However, senior manager of communications Brad Lyon said that withholding the funds isn’t completely out of the question.
“Hockey Alberta has requested that Hockey Canada take certain actions and provide answers by specific deadlines,” Lyon said.
“We have outlined that a lack of action may lead to Hockey Alberta taking other actions which include, but are not limited to, withholding participant fees.”
On Wednesday, Hockey Quebec announced it will no longer send the $3 participant assessment fee to Hockey Canada for the upcoming season, leading parents and players in other provinces to ask their organizations if they’ll do the same.
In the neighbouring province, Hockey Saskatchewan dismissed the idea that Hockey Canada had a “slush” fund.
“There has been reports in the media alleging that Hockey Canada has a second secret ‘slush’ fund,” Hockey Saskatchewan said in its statement. “I want to ensure the members of Hockey Saskatchewan that there is in no way a ‘slush’ fund.”
Hockey Manitoba said it supports a change in leadership at Hockey Canada and called for a review of the Hockey Canada Action Plan to include consultation from experts in education, awareness and prevention of sexual violence, abuse, bullying and discrimination.
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Meanwhile, Hockey Nova Scotia and Ontario have suspended the transfer of participant assessment fees to Hockey Canada.
In Alberta, registration fees are collected by Hockey Edmonton and Hockey Calgary, respectively, with $23 of every registration going to Hockey Alberta, a percentage of which then goes to Hockey Canada.
Dan Mason, a professor in the faculty of kinesiology, sport and recreation at the University of Alberta, said that the fan connection many Canadians have with the sport of hockey has made the controversy even more fiery.
“People have this investment in the game of hockey, so they see Hockey Canada not just as an administrative organization but an entity that oversees this thing that’s such an important part of people’s lives,” said Mason.
“I think that’s one of the reasons that people are so outraged and why this animosity is directed towards Hockey Canada specifically, because there’s sort of a stewardship issue there. People feel that Hockey Canada has to guide the sport, not just the athletes that are playing within it.”
Hockey Alberta did not clarify what actions it wants Hockey Canada to take, the questions they expect answers to, or what deadline they want them by. Lyon said Hockey Alberta has no further comment on the matter.