OTTAWA – Hockey Canada says it has paid out $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and sexual abuse claims since 1989, with $6.8 million of that related to serial abuser Graham James.
The hockey governing body has been under fire since it was revealed the money in its multimillion-dollar National Equity Fund – which had been reserved for uninsured payments including sexual assault and sexual abuse claims – comes from player fees.
The fund was also used to pay for the services of a law firm that has been investigating an alleged sexual assault in 2018 that has Hockey Canada officials before a committee of MPs this week.
Sheldon Kennedy, an advocate for sexual abuse survivors and one of James’s victims, has called on Hockey Canada’s leadership to resign as a result of their handling of the allegations.
MPs asked Hockey Canada president Scott Smith if he would step down.
Smith says he is prepared to take on the responsibility for change, but if Hockey Canada’s governance decides he is not the right person for the job, he will accept that.
Feature image: Witnesses Scott Smith, Hockey Canada President and Chief Operating Officer, middle right, and Hockey Canada Chief Financial Officer Brian Cairo, middle left, join fellow witnesses as they appear at the standing committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa on Wednesday, July 27, 2022, looking into how Hockey Canada handled allegations of sexual assault and a subsequent lawsuit. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick