By Tara Deschamps, The Canadian Press on December 14, 2023.
TORONTO – A trio of sponsors are backing Hockey Canada once more, after pulling support for the organization when it was embroiled in scandal last year.
Fast food chain Tim Hortons, telecommunications firm Telus Corp. and gas station business Esso said Thursday that they have reinstated their support for Hockey Canada, which they withdrew in 2022 after the organization was accused of mishandling sexual assault complaints.
The return of such sponsors is a key milestone for hockey’s governing body as it works to revamp its processes and rebuild its tarnished image, so Canadians have faith in the organization once more.
The renewed support comes ahead of the men’s world junior hockey championship, which gets underway in Gothenburg, Sweden later this month.
Tims attributed its decision to back Hockey Canada again to progress at the organization.
“We made it clear that we would only reinstate funding for Canada’s men’s teams when they did the work to regain the confidence of Canadians, and it appears to us that they have made substantial progress with new leadership,” said Tims spokesperson Michael Oliveira in an email.
The company’s logo was featured prominently on the boards of the rink where Canada’s men’s world junior team hosted a training camp this week.
Telus and Esso had their logos on backdrops behind players conducting media interviews at the camp.
Telus spokesperson Saara Rahikka said the telecommunications giant decided to back the organization again because it is “committed to supporting changes that make the sport safe and inclusive for all and look forward to working with Hockey Canada and their new leadership team to help drive positive change, on and off the ice.”
Imperial Oil withdrew support from the world junior championship last June, while continuing to sponsor youth and women’s programs under its Esso brand.
Spokesperson Keri Scobie said the organization had committed to having its logo on rink board signage at the world juniors.
“We will be cheering on Team Canada and wish all the players and coaching staff every success at this year’s tournament,” she said.
“We remain committed to continuing working with Hockey Canada to improve inclusivity and transparency within Canada’s game.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 14, 2023.
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