“I have zero trust for the organization right now.”
That was the sentiment from Regina hockey parent Dallas Verity, after a Globe and Mail report revealed Hockey Canada put registration fees towards a second fund, for matters including but not limited to sexual abuse.
The report has left Verity concerned about enrolling his own kids in the sport, even after playing hockey himself.
“Honestly weeks like this I’m glad that they (his kids) don’t really seem to have a desire to play hockey but if they did, I think I would honestly try and encourage them not too,” Verity said.
On Tuesday, Hockey Saskatchewan released a memo stating it was not a secret “slush” fund.
“There has been reports in the media alleging that Hockey Canada has a second secret ‘slush’ fund.” Hockey Saskatchewan said in its statement. “I want to ensure the members of Hockey Saskatchewan that there is in no way a “slush” fund.”
The so-called Participants Legacy Trust Fund is not a fund of Hockey Canada but is rather for the 13 members of Hockey Canada, one of which is Hockey Saskatchewan.
According to Hockey Saskatchewan, the fund was created and used from September 1986 to August 1995 because Hockey Canada could not obtain an insurance provider and was essentially forced to be “self-insured.”
“Fees collected from participants registered with members (approximately $18 per participant at that time) were placed into the National Equity Fund and used to cover expenses for lawsuits primarily in the areas of injury lawsuits (example: people who experienced paraplegic or quadriplegic injuries; spectators being hit and injured by pucks, etc.),” the letter read.
Hockey Saskatchewan said it collected the following amounts for the past five years from the interest earned on the Participants Legacy Trust Fund:
- 2022: $35,383
- 2021: $44,237
- 2020: $47,540
- 2019: $50,438
- 2018: $66,990
“This revenue assists Hockey Saskatchewan to maintain the current fees charged to participants in the province,” the letter read.
“This Legacy Trust fund continues to exist today and provides annual funding to Members of Hockey Canada and the CHL by way of realized annual investment income. The income is distributed to Members and the CHL based on the percentage they originally contributed into the Trust.”
The letter said that since 2007, $5.4 million has been paid out of the trust to Hockey Canada members and the CHL.
No word from Hockey Alberta or Hockey Calgary on future of Hockey Canada relationship
While Hockey Saskatchewan says the fund is only used to deal with injuries sustained from 1986 to 1995 and to help teams in need, the Globe and Mail reported earlier this week that documents obtained from Hockey Canada said money in the reserve was earmarked “for matters including but not limited to sexual abuse.”
Hockey Saskatchewan General Manager Kelly McClintock said once some insurance companies committed to them $7.1 million in the national equity fund was transferred to the trust fund knowing claims could still arise due to statutes of limitation.
“I just felt it was really important for us to get it out to our members this isn’t a slush fund,” he said. “This is really our money.”
“I am one of the only people left on staff of a branch of Hockey Canada that was in the room when this fund was created back in the middle 90’s… I think the media were portraying that this is a slush fund to pay off sexual misconduct cases, well really right now that is probably one of the few items that could come up because of statutes of limitation.”
Verity said he didn’t like the organization’s response to the fund, making him even more concerned about the hockey culture he grew up in.
He believes the Hockey Saskatchewan statement should have had more acknowledgment towards the sexual assault scandals.
“Their Twitter and their news releases don’t seem to even acknowledge that this is part of the game of hockey and I think that’s sad.”
Since the statement was sent to parents on behalf of Hockey Saskatchewan, Hockey Quebec has announced it will be suspending all transfers of the registration fees it normally pays to Hockey Canada.
As well, Tim Hortons told Hockey Canada it won’t sponsor the men’s program this season, including the world junior championship. However, the company plans to keep supporting women’s, para and youth hockey.
Hockey Quebec loses ‘confidence’ in Hockey Canada, withholds funds
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