Hockey Canada has a new board of directors. Now the real work begins.
The national sport organization’s members elected a slate of candidates to fill nine vacant board seats with a vote Saturday at its annual winter meeting.
Hockey Canada’s previous board quit in October – the same day embattled president and CEO Scott Smith stepped aside – amid blistering criticism of the federation’s handling of sexual assault allegations and hushed payouts to victims.
Retired judge Hugh L. Fraser is Hockey Canada’s new chair, while former women’s national team captain Cassie Campbell-Pascall has joined the board.
The federation’s 13 provincial and territorial bodies had the choice to accept or reject the nine names, which included five women and four men, who were put forward earlier this week by an independent nominating committee.
Grant Borbridge, Julie Duranceau, Dave Evans, Marni Fullerton, Jonathan F. Goldbloom, Marian Jacko and Andrea Poole were also voted in as board members Saturday.
”We are determined to enact the changes Canadians expect,” Fraser said in a statement. ”Hockey means so much to our country and we will be committed to making sure that Hockey Canada is an organization that is transparent and accountable to all Canadians, and is worthy of their trust.”
Among the board’s first orders of business will be to hire a new CEO and rebuild public faith in the organization. It was first revealed in the spring that a woman alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of the 2018 world junior team, following a Hockey Canada gala in London, Ontario.
The fallout was swift. Hockey Canada had its federal and corporate funding either cut off or redirected as more ugly stories surfaced before a string of disastrous heritage committee meetings on Parliament Hill that saw officials past and present grilled by MPs. It led to the board’s resignation and Smith’s departure.
With nearly three decades experience at the Ontario court of justice, Fraser has been on the Court of Arbitration for Sport since 1995 and served on the first ad hoc court at the 1996 Olympics. Born in Jamaica and raised in Kingston, Ontario, he also competed in the men’s 200-meter track and field event at the 1976 Olympics and is the father of former NHL defenseman Mark Fraser.
Campbell-Pascall brings the most Hockey Canada experience to the table.
The three-time Olympian, who helped the women’s national team win gold at both the 2002 and 2006 Games, currently sits on the board of its foundation and was the first female hockey player inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame.
Campbell-Pascall was also the first woman to provide color commentary on ”Hockey Night in Canada” broadcasts and is a regular on Sportsnet’s NHL telecasts.
Her husband, Brad Pascall, is an assistant general manager with the Calgary Flames and worked in senior management roles at Hockey Canada from 1995 through 2014, according to his LinkedIn page.
Former Supreme Court judge Thomas Cromwell headed an independent review into Hockey Canada’s governance. His report provided a number of recommendations, including that moving forward no more than 60% of Hockey Canada’s board members be of the same gender. He also recommended the new board serve a special one-year term focused improving the organization’s governance as well as safety across the sport on and off the ice.