June 23rd, 2024

Hockey Canada renews partnership with Sheldon Kennedy’s Respect Group

By The Canadian Press on February 22, 2023.

Former NHL player and child advocate Sheldon Kennedy speaks during a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, on the issue of child abuse and its impact on children in Canada, on Monday, Feb. 5, 2018. Hockey Canada says it has renewed and expanded a partnership with Respect Group, and advocacy organization co-founded by former NHL player Kennedy. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

CALGARY – Hockey Canada says it has renewed and expanded a partnership with Respect Group, an advocacy organization co-founded by former NHL player Sheldon Kennedy.

In a statement released Wednesday, Hockey Canada said it will collaborate with Respect Group to develop new, age-appropriate player programs while continuing to deliver existing online training courses.

Hockey Canada said the partnership will help drive cultural change around the sport, an area in which the organization said there is “still work to be done.”

The national hockey governing has been mired in controversy for months after it was revealed in May that it settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleges she was sexually assaulted by several members of the 2018 world junior team. Police in London., Ont., have since re-opened their investigation.

In July, Halifax Regional Police began investigating allegations that members of the 2003 team sexually assaulted a woman and filmed the attack during that tournament.

The allegations have not been tested in court.

Hockey Canada executives in July also revealed that they paid out $8.9 million in sexual abuse settlements since 1989, excluding the 2018 deal.

The organization elected a new board of directors Dec. 17 and is still searching for a new chief executive officer. The previous board resigned and president and CEO Scott Smith was ousted as a result of the controversies.

Kennedy had called on Hockey Canada’s leadership to quit after the controversies emerged. In Thursday’s statement, he said the two organizations are committed “to creating change in hockey.”

“Age-appropriate, player-centric education is the next logical step in the enhancement of our Respect in Sport curriculum, and we are very excited to be partnering with Hockey Canada as a contributor in the development of these tools,” he said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 22, 2023.

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