Local association in Quebec pulling funding to Hockey Canada after scandal

A local Quebec hockey association says it won’t be sending any more funds to Hockey Canada, and it’s calling on other associations to also cut ties with the beleaguered organization.

The Granby Minor Hockey Association announced the decision after parent and coach Francois Lemay called for the resolution to freeze funds and for others to follow suit.

The national federation has been under intense scrutiny following the revelation it quietly settled a lawsuit by a woman alleging she was assaulted by eight players following a gala event in London, Ont., four years ago.

“The parents’ money will not go to Hockey Canada until action is taken. It’s a matter of respect, and a message to our boys and our girls,” Lemay told Radio-Canada.

A meeting between local associations and Hockey Quebec is expected to take place Wednesday.

Hockey Canada executives told a House of Commons committee Wednesday that it had paid out $8.9 million in sexual abuse settlements to 21 complainants since 1989.

Nine of those claims came out of its “National Equity Fund,” Hockey Canada chief financial officer Brian Cairo told the committee, generated in large part from membership fees.

Their contribution corresponded to approximately $25 per player.

‘Counterproductive’

RĂ©mi Meunier, the general manager of Hockey Estrie, has mixed feelings about the push to pull out funding en masse. A boycott could deprive players from services and funding coming from the national level.

“It has to be done together. We are in an extremely uncomfortable position,” Meunier told Radio-Canada.

  A man stands in front of a hockey rink.
Jocelyn Thibault, the general director of Hockey Quebec, says pulling funding so close to a new season could cause headaches. (Radio-Canada)

The local organization shared the same concerns.

Insurance, the registration of players and the certification of coaches and officials are all guaranteed through those financial commitments, said Jocelyn Thibault, the general director of Hockey Quebec.

“A few days, a few weeks before the start of the season, I don’t see how it would be possible, to be honest,” Thibault said.

Thibault said that with the new season not far away, cutting those ties could be a headache, but added he understood parents’ discomfort with them.

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