Hockey Nova Scotia will withhold registration fees from Hockey Canada

HALIFAX — Hockey Nova Scotia says it has "lost confidence" in Hockey Canada's leadership and is suspending the transfer of funds to the national organization.

The provincial federation's board of directors voted at an emergency meeting Thursday to keep a portion of registration fees normally transferred to Hockey Canada, which amounts to $3 per member, for the 2022-23 hockey season.

In a statement, the board said it cannot support Hockey Canada until Hockey Nova Scotia's values are reflected by the national body's senior leadership.

Hockey Canada continues to vigorously defend its leadership amid criticism over its handling of alleged sexual assaults and the way money was paid out in lawsuits.

Hockey Quebec passed a similar resolution on Wednesday morning, and the Ontario Hockey Federation followed with a request asking Hockey Canada not to collect the $3 participant assessment fee from its more than 200,000 members.

Also Thursday, Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said he needs to see meaningful changes at Hockey Canada before the 2023 world junior hockey championship can proceed in his province. Halifax and Moncton, N.B., are to co-host the tournament in December and January.

"I am deeply disappointed by what we continue to see with Hockey Canada. I said back in July that Hockey Canada has a lot of work to do. Canadians have the right to expect action, answers and accountability from the organization," Houston said in a statement.

"The work required to earn back the trust of Canadians needs to be transformational. The withdrawal of numerous sponsors is a signal to Hockey Canada that its response so far has been inadequate. We agree."

Hockey Canada first came under fire in May when it was found that an undisclosed settlement had been paid to a woman who alleged in a $3.55-million lawsuit that she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of Canada's world junior team, after a 2018 gala in London, Ont.

On July 22, the organization revealed that the 2003 world junior team was being investigated for an alleged group sexual assault. The national sporting body said it contacted Halifax Regional Police since Halifax was the co-host city of the world junior tournament that year.

That same day, Halifax Regional Police confirmed they would be investigating the 2003 alleged group sexual assault. Shortly after, London Police announced that its force would be reopening its investigation into the alleged sexual assault from 2018 over three years after closing it.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2022.

The Canadian Press