McBean says offer to join Hockey Canada board withdrawn after call to fire top executives –

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Three-time Olympic gold medalist Marnie McBean said a major crisis management firm hired by Hockey Canada asked her earlier this month to join a committee that would hold the organization accountable for the change it promised.

But McBean says the offer was withdrawn a week later after she clarified her membership on the committee would be conditional on Hockey Canada’s top officials being removed from their positions.

McBean said in an interview with TSN on Wednesday that she was contacted on August 10 by Adam Vaughan, a former MP and Citytv reporter. Vaughan is now a director of Navigator Ltd., a Toronto-based company that works with Hockey Canada to help the organization overcome criticism from parliamentarians, business partners and the public over its response to sexual assault allegations.

Hockey Canada released an action plan on July 25 in which the organization promised to “break the code of silence and eliminate toxic behavior in and around Canadian sport.” As part of this action plan, Hockey Canada said it would create a committee to act as a watchdog for the organization. McBean said Vaughan offered him a spot on that committee.

McBean, who represented Canada in rowing from 1987 to 2000, winning a total of 12 world and Olympic medals, said she told Vaughan she would consider working with Hockey Canada if the organization’s current leaders were responsible and removed from office.

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome,” McBean said. “I said I would be involved, but it would require a change of direction and a board willing to do hard work, which could include an update and/or replacement with [others who have] set of skills needed to do the job.

Eight days after their first conversation, McBean said Vaughan told him on Aug. 18 that Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith and other senior officials had the support of the board and would not be replaced. (Hockey Canada announced the resignation of Chairman Michael Brind’Amour on August 6.)

“I came with my requirements…” McBean said. “Navigator came back to me and said, ‘That’s not going to happen, so we’re not going to recommend this position to you anymore. “”

Vaughan did not respond to a request for comment. Hockey Canada declined to comment.

McBean, who also served as Canada’s chef de mission for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, said she was concerned that if she agreed to join the Hockey Canada committee he might use her for his profile. and as a “central point”.

She said that on her first call with Vaughan, she “was led to believe that there would be enough changes in senior management and on the board that we could hope there would be a change in governance and culture at Hockey Canada”.

A week later, however, McBean said Vaughan told him there would be no leadership changes.

“There doesn’t seem to be a will to make these difficult changes,” she said. “It was really disappointing.”

McBean is an Officer of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame in 1994 and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1997. She has also worked with the Canadian Olympic Committee to help mentor athletes.

Navigator’s ties to Hockey Canada have not previously been reported. The crisis management firm, whose brand statement is ‘When you can’t afford to lose’, has had a number of high-profile former clients, including Brian Mulroney at a public inquiry in 2007 on the business dealings between the former prime minister and former arms industry lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber, The Globe and Mail reported.

Former CBC reporter Jian Ghomeshi, who was fired by the broadcaster, charged with sexual assault and then acquitted, also hired Navigator.

Hockey Canada officials have already been called to testify twice before a parliamentary committee examining Canada’s most powerful national sports organization. Further hearings are expected to take place after Parliament resumes on September 19, MP Peter Julian told TSN.

After a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight former Canadian Hockey League players, including at least some members of the 2018 World Junior Team, in June 2018 in a hotel room in London, Ontario, Hockey Canada has hired Toronto law firm Henein Hutchison to investigate.

Players were not required to participate in the investigation and faced no consequences if they refused to do so. Hockey Canada has reopened its investigation into the allegation and now says players must cooperate or they will no longer be allowed to have any ties with the organization.

Hockey Canada has also hired former Supreme Court Justice Thomas Cromwell to review the governance of the organization.

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