50/50 sales from world juniors aimed at making hockey safer and more inclusive

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World juniors’ 50-50 profits to go towards making game more inclusive
Hockey Canada says money raised from the World Junior Hockey Championship 50/50 sales will be going towards making the game safer and more inclusive. Callum Smith reports. – Jan 3, 2023

While fans have been loud at the world juniors, a tournament that officially kicked off on Boxing Day, they’ve also been buying 50/50 tickets.

As of Tuesday afternoon, sales from tickets purchased online across the country have surpassed $1.5 million.

Hockey Canada says “net proceeds are going to support organizations that work towards greater safety and inclusiveness in and around hockey.”

In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, the funds will go towards sexual violence education, female hockey associations and additional diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

Read more: Fans thrilled to see World Juniors in Maritimes — ‘Been on our bucket list forever’

Cheryl MacDonald, a sports sociologist at Saint Mary’s University with a focus on hockey culture, says she’s feeling “cautiously optimistic” after learning where proceeds would go.

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“In my time in the rink lately, it has felt like we have lost sight a little bit of the underlying issues within hockey culture,” MacDonald says. “To know that people are paying money into the 50/50 and Hockey Canada is planning to use it in responsible ways, I think is a small uplifting sign.”

Several scandals plagued Hockey Canada in 2022, with multiple sexual assault allegations from prior tournaments coming to light, lawsuit payout concerns and the subsequent resignation of its board of directors.

MacDonald says she’ll be intrigued to see how much money is handed out and hopes there’s a method to monitor accountability, but she says longer-term, more sustainable education and social change are needed.

Read more: New Hockey Canada board chair reflects on scandal, work ahead to rebuild organization

“Depending on how much money gets raised and considering that is going to be divided between several organizations between different provinces, we’re not sure how much money is actually going to make its way into the communities and whether it will be enough to create any kind of big change,” she says.

But MacDonald says these types of organizations “have the right goals” and need resources to create that change.

One partner Hockey New Brunswick has chosen is Sexual Violence New Brunswick.

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“I think it’s important that we provide some funding, that there’s education and different preventative programs in place as a result of the issues from the past year,” says Nic Jansen, Hockey New Brunswick’s executive director.

Hockey Nova Scotia has yet to determine where its funding will go, but a spokesperson says the proceeds are going to areas that need more resources.

“This is the first to my knowledge that (50/50 proceeds have) focused on sexual violence, diversity and inclusion, and women’s and girls’ hockey together,” says Dean Smith, the organization’s chair of diversity and inclusion. “So, we’re very pleased to support these initiatives and we look forward to developing ways in which to address these community initiatives.”

Read more: Hockey Canada says 2018 sex assault investigation complete, report to stay private

Smith says it’s also important to increase awareness of women’s and girls’ hockey.

He’s also not sure when the money will be received — or able to be paid out — but he says “the sooner the better” because “these are very, very important initiatives for Hockey Nova Scotia.”

Tickets for the 50/50 draw can be bought online.

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