MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR OF THE BC HOCKEY BOARD OF DIRECTORS - OCTOBER 11, 2022
An open letter to BC Hockey participants, coaches, volunteers, and parents
To begin with, and most importantly, we fully support all victims of sexual violence. If you have experienced sexual violence and are seeking help or would like more information, please reach out to VictimLinkBC. This is a toll-free, confidential, multilingual service available across British Columbia and Yukon 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can be accessed by calling or texting 1-800-563-0808 or sending an email to VictimLinkBC@bc211.ca.
With today’s announcement about the leadership change at Hockey Canada, we feel it is important to have an open and honest dialogue on the process that BC Hockey has been involved in, and our role and approach moving forward.
Over the last five months, BC Hockey and our Board has heard the opinions of our members regarding Hockey Canada. These voices have come through many mediums and have expressed much anger and disappointment over this situation.
I am angry and disappointed too.
During the unfolding of events over the summer, BC Hockey has been an active participant along with the other 12 branch members of Hockey Canada. We have sat at the table through numerous meetings where we have collected information, and we have been able to ask the hard questions and put forth opinions that represent progress for the game of hockey.
Over the last few weeks, there had been calls for us to do more, and even to step away from Hockey Canada and our seat at the table. While we understand the thought process behind this suggestion for us to walk away, we continue to believe the best way to represent our members and participants is to be a part of the process. We have an opportunity to build a better Hockey Canada, and we want to ensure that BC Hockey has a voice in the needed changes as well as in shaping the future direction of hockey in Canada. This can only be accomplished if we are at the table. Walking away would only have served to eliminate our voice entirely.
Ongoing, as the Chair of BC Hockey I have voiced the concerns and objections of our members in meetings with Hockey Canada and with and among the member branches. While we may not have publicly expressed so, I want our members to be clear that we have had a voice in the process. In the most recent meetings, we put forth our opinion that there should be a change in leadership at Hockey Canada, in the best interest of our game to move forward.
Throughout this process we have stood up and demanded meaningful and impactful change within Hockey Canada. We have also actively participated, and continue to participate, in the Honourable Thomas Cromwell’s investigation. We await the findings from his report to help provide further insight into the changes that will help set Hockey Canada, and hockey, back in the proper direction.
We believe the time now is to be strategic and thoughtful as opposed to reactive. Although there is public pressure to withhold registration fees to Hockey Canada, we feel it is more beneficial to stay focused on finding solutions to the issues while understanding the true impact of holding back fees.
Registration fee payments are not typically due until mid-November. Due to this timeline, we have time to decide what the proper course of action is for BC Hockey members. Currently, we are still considering options.
The BC Hockey Board and senior staff has worked hard on finding the right path on behalf of our members. We met again over this past weekend to thoroughly consider all options. Not everyone will agree with our approach. Some people may be critical or distrust this course of action. Disagreement is ok. Disagreement supports progress.
Everyone within BC Hockey, myself and our Board included, strive to make hockey a safe, inclusive, and equitable sport for our members. We are committed to changing the culture within our game to make it a place for fun and a source of pride.
We pledge to be a strong voice as we represent British Columbia and Yukon at the national level. We will continue to demand accountability from our National Sports Organization and insist on change and progress to create a better Hockey Canada. We will do what is right for our membership and will not be influenced by Hockey Canada or any others that do not have our memberships’ best interests in mind.
Above all, I want to be involved in making a better hockey system in Canada, a small step forward for anyone who has been a victim of abuse, hate or harassment in our game.
As always, we want an open channel of communication for our membership. If you would like to share your thoughts with myself, please reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Chair of the Board, BC Hockey