Victims rights advocate Kennedy calls for resignation of Hockey Canada leaders

Victims rights advocate Kennedy calls for resignation of Hockey Canada leaders

Former NHL player and victims rights advocate Sheldon Kennedy has called for the resignation of Hockey Canada president and chief executive officer Scott Smith, his leadership team and the organization’s board of directors as scrutiny of the organization’s handling of sexual abuse allegations involving its players continues.

Kennedy posted his demand on Twitter in a statement responding to Hockey Canada’s “action plan” released Monday to combat toxic culture.

“The same people with a new plan expecting the same results is the definition if insanity,” Kennedy said in the statement, ending it with “enough is enough already.”

Kennedy’s statement came after the end of Tuesday’s round of parliamentary hearings investigating Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual assault allegations involving past world junior team players.

Kennedy said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press that a July 11 open letter from Hockey Canada, promising reforms and the reopening of an investigation into a 2018 allegation of group sexual assault, was “a good first step.”

“The followup? They should be able to speak with their actions,” he added. “I’m hopeful that they will.”

He made it clear Tuesday that he believes Hockey Canada hasn’t done enough.

“Giving my 26 yrs of advocating for victims, I cant sit idle any longer,” he said in a tweet attached to his statement.

Kennedy has been a voice for victims following his own experience being abused by then-coach Graham James in junior hockey.

Hockey Canada’s action plan building on the open letter includes the implementation by the end of September of a centralized tracking and reporting system for abuse complaints. It said the results will be published annually to “hold Hockey Canada accountable.”

The organization will publish an annual social responsibility report, which will include information on complaints received at both the national team and subnational levels and a scorecard based on “key performance indicators.” Hockey Canada said it was in the process of identifying the measures to be included in the scorecard.

Hockey Canada did not say what data on the complaints will be made public in the report, but historical allegations of sexual assault will not be included.

The parliamentary hearings will continue Wednesday, with Smith being among those scheduled to testify.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 26, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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