Hockey Canada interim director and president Andrea Skinner steps down, CEO Scott Smith under pressure
By Rhythm Sachdeva, CTVNews.ca Web Reporter
Toronto, Ontario (TVC network) — Hockey Canada’s interim director and chair of the board, Andrea Skinner, has resigned amid growing backlash over the organization’s handling of sexual assault allegations, according to a statement released Saturday by the Hockey Canada Board of Directors.
“I joined the Hockey Canada Board of Directors in November 2020 as a volunteer. It was my firm commitment to making gaming more safe, accessible, inclusive and welcoming,” Skinner said in a statement.
“On reflection, it is clear from recent events that it no longer makes sense for me to continue volunteering as interim president or as director of the organization.”
Skinner resigned days after a parliamentary committee hearing on Tuesday where she defended Hockey Canada’s handling of sexual assault allegations. She had only served as interim chair for about two months after former board chair Michael Brind’Amour resigned on August 6.
His resignation marks the second major departure from the organization in recent months.
“I think it’s interesting that Andrea Skinner’s position was a volunteer position, and that raises some interesting questions,” TSN’s Rick Westhead told CTV National News on Saturday.
Westhead notes that Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith has also come under intense pressure to resign.
“His position is paid,” Westhead said. “The question now with the departure of Andrea Skinner is who could negotiate a severance package for Scott Smith and his management team?”
Hockey Canada has been under the national microscope since May, when it was revealed it settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players from the 2018 Junior Men’s National Hockey Team at a gala in June in London, Ontario this year.
Among other revelations that followed was Hockey Canada’s admission of dipping into minor hockey membership fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual abuse claims.
Additionally, Halifax police have been asked to investigate an alleged sexual assault by members of the 2003 Junior Men’s National Team.
The federal government froze funding for Hockey Canada, and the organization bled sponsorship, with brands like Nike, Canadian Tire, Scotiabank and Tim Hortons suspending support.
With files from The Canadian Press
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