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Victims rights advocate wants top Hockey Canada officials to resign

Randy Mancini 2 Jul 26

(Reuters) – Former NHL player and victims rights advocate Sheldon Kennedy on Tuesday called for the resignation of Hockey Canada’s leadership team in the wake of sexual assault allegations involving two national junior teams.

Kennedy, a co-founder of Respect Group which is aimed at preventing bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination, issued a statement a day after Hockey Canada unveiled its plan to eliminate “toxic behaviour” in the sport.

“The same people with a new plan expecting different results is the definition of insanity,” Kennedy, who has been a voice for victims following his own experience of being sexually abused by a coach during his junior career, wrote on Twitter.

“I call for the resignation of Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith, his leadership team and the board of directors to resign and step down from their positions immediately.

“Enough is enough already.”

The 53-year-old Kennedy, who suited up for parts of eight NHL seasons, publicly disclosed in 1996 his story of sexual abuse at the hands of a minor hockey coach.

Smith, who held various Hockey Canada jobs since 1995 before taking over as chief executive officer on July 1, is expected to speak on Wednesday during a Canadian parliamentary hearing on a scandal that has rocked the national governing body.

The Canadian federal government froze funding to Hockey Canada in June over the organization’s handling of an alleged group sexual assault in London, Ontario, involving some members of the 2018 world junior team and out-of-court settlement.

Hockey Canada said last week that it learned of a second allegation of group sexual assault involving some members of the 2003 team during that year’s world junior championship in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Toby Davis)

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