The federal government’s suspension of funding to Hockey Canada, citing issues far removed from the women’s national team, could still have repercussions.
Canada’s women’s and para hockey teams rely heavily on federal funding for their operations.
Most of the men’s team’s training costs are borne by professional or junior clubs that loan players to Hockey Canada for international tournaments.
So when Federal Sports Minister Pascal Saint-Onge froze Hockey Canada’s funding over the handling of sexual assault allegations by members of the 2018 World Junior Men’s Team, women worried about the financial implications for the team.
“That’s certainly a concern,” forward Blair Turnbull said. “We think of ourselves as professional athletes without a professional salary.
“A lot of our money comes from governments and other organizations like that. If the funding freeze continues, our programs will be greatly impacted.”
Among the 142 senior and development athletes currently attending the Calgary camp are 19 women who won gold medals at the February Olympics in Beijing.
The first Women’s World Championships to be held in the same calendar year as the Olympics will start in Denmark on August 25th.
The Canadian women’s team will attempt to defend the world title they won in Calgary a year ago. In the final, they defeated the United States in overtime.
Their preparations for Denmark have not been curtailed, but under current sanctions, the women’s program’s financial future looks bleak for the player.
“This is a legitimate concern, especially in the long term,” Gina Kingsbury, director of hockey operations for Hockey Canada’s women’s team, told The Canadian Press. “We’re stepping into territory we don’t fully understand. We’re trying to focus on what we can control.
“In the short term, the message from Hockey Canada was that this season will not be impacted. It is normal to think long term, but what are these impacts? If it has a long-term impact, it impacts our women’s programs.
St-Onge has reported that TSN’s Rick Westhead has reached a financial settlement with a woman who claims a member of the 2018 Men’s World Junior Team sexually assaulted her at a Hockey Canada event. Stopped Canadian funding.
Hockey Canada later revealed that a member of the 2003 World Junior Men’s Team was under investigation for alleged sexual assault in Nova Scotia. The allegations have not been proven in court.
However, federal funding will be withheld until Hockey Canada meets the St-Onge requirements. They are the financial auditors of the organization, prepare investigative report recommendations by third-party law firms, develop action plans to change the culture, and become integrity committee signatories.
Hockey Canada is taking steps to meet these conditions, but St-Onge told lawmakers last week that funds would not start flowing again “until they confirm that the conditions are met.” Told.
“I think it’s really important that we talk about these issues and get to the bottom of it,” said female forward Brian Jenner. think.”
The women’s team received $6 million in Own The Podium funding for the four years leading up to Beijing, where Canada dominated the United States for gold, and the men’s team received $1.8 million for the same four-year period .
OTP has channeled $4 million in quads in Beijing to the silver medal-winning men’s para hockey team.
Women do not want to pay a disproportionate price for the actions of others under the umbrella of Hockey Canada.
“Actions have consequences and people are held accountable for their actions, but all I know is the women’s hockey culture that we have created that takes a lot of work and is safe. The environment. “I think the Canadians who follow us know that.”
As full-time high-performance athletes, women and para hockey athletes receive approximately $1,800 monthly Sports Canada checks from the Athlete Assistance Program (AAP).
Sports Canada has confirmed that these checks will continue.
“There has never been a suspension of funding from the AAP to carded athletes in the Women’s or Paralympic National Team Programs,” a spokeswoman told The Canadian Press in an email.
Imperial Oil, Scotiabank and TELUS have withdrawn their sponsorship of the World Junior Men’s Hockey Championship, but the companies have indicated that they will continue to financially support youth programs and women’s events.
“I hope the public understands that our women’s game is healthy and that the culture we’re talking about just doesn’t apply to our side at all.
“We’re proud of the culture and environment we’re building. We’re proud of the program we have. We’re proud of the people who are part of that program from top to bottom.” .”
– Donna Spencer, Canadian Press
Women’s hockey players fear financial repercussions of frozen Hockey Canada funding
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