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Junior league still dark on details of Hockey Canada's 'action plan'

Hockey Canada has yet to develop a program of sexual consent training for junior leagues across the country, nearly two months after announcing an “action plan” to combat toxic culture in the sport. (Getty Images)

Nearly two months after Hockey Canada released its ‘Action Plan’, the Canadian Junior Hockey League is still awaiting communication and direction from the Governing Body. Or wait for guidance from Hockey Canada when the season begins.

Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League (GOJHL) Commissioner Brent Garbutt said: Known nothing about Hockey Canada’s plans in his league and in the junior league that serves as a feeder system for the OHL, QMJHL, and WHL, Garbutt is unaware that hockey’s cultural issues are real. Regardless, I feel the focus is solely on players participating in the national team program. Hockey Canada’s commitment has been attributed to all levels of the Canadian game.

“Even though they provided sexual consent training to the world junior team ahead of this summer’s world juniors, they did not send it to the chain for thousands of junior and minor hockey players. It’s even more infuriating to know,” Garbutt said.

Kevin Rigsby, commissioner of the Ligue d’Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec (LHJQ), said, “We have not yet received any direction from Hockey Canada regarding an education program on abuse and assault. This is a concern. “There is an echo from leagues in every province,” said Stephen Cocker, executive director of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). failed to demonstrate the direction, policy, or practices received from

With months of preparation and communication of instructions for the new season, the league is left to its own devices and Hockey Canada to answer questions of sexual violence, consent, abuse and harassment in hockey. I’m wondering what is trying to do. The culture of silence that pervades sports and how to report incidents.

“We have been waiting all summer for information on a new grievance protocol, which is contradictory and unclear,” said Garbutt. “We know it takes time to develop processes and resources, but we are left in the dark across the country. That is what the governing bodies of

Without direction, dozens of junior leagues across Canada are taking matters into their own hands to combat in-game issues. While none of the leagues have been able to point to Hockey Canada’s initiative or mandate, each league has developed its own plans to improve the fairness, inclusiveness and safety of the sport and to respond to Canadians’ call for change. had already formulated.

For example, the Alberta Junior Hockey League, which boasts NHL alumni such as last year’s Norris Trophy and Conn Smythe winner Cale McCur, recently partnered with the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters (ACWS) and its leading Announced participation in the Change™ program. Developing leaders in violence prevention“This program aims to build positive conversations among players when discussing the prevention of domestic violence and gender-based violence, and is designed to encourage Alberta Junior Hockey League players to end domestic violence. , provides the tools needed to start leading change to serve the greater culture, Charla Flett, Executive Director of AJHL, explained to Yahoo Sports Canada.

AJHL Commissioner Ryan Bartoshyk said, “We believe our players can use their position as role models and leaders in the Alberta community to contribute to positive change and promote anti-violence.” The State Women’s Shelter Council will provide young athletes with education on abuse prevention, consent, and support to identify ways to model this leadership in their everyday lives.”

The programs and initiatives offered vary across the country, but each league has its own way of addressing safety and violence prevention issues.

“Each of our teams works with local police to conduct and host seminars for players on sexual assault and assault,” said LHJQ’s Figsby. and its diversity and inclusion programs.”

In Atlantic Canada, the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) recently announced the Women in Hockey Operations Program to employ more women in organizations across the league. As league president Troy Danville explained, the MHL also works with renowned hockey scholar Dr. Dr. Cheryl MacDonald “develops training for athletes on many topics including consent and respect.”

When Hockey Canada first unveiled its ‘Action Plan’ in July 2022, Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith said there was an ‘urgent need’ to address issues within the sport. . The Action Plan itself has stated several times that the changes will “affect positive behavior from the grassroots level to the national team level”, but as league staff across Canada have stated, programming is still simply No player group has reached beyond the recent World Junior Championships.

GOJHL’s Brent Garbutt said: “We can only control what we do, so we are trying to lead. “

Despite the lack of support or direction from Hockey Canada, the league itself is working towards change. Commissioners and directors across the country become increasingly frustrated and impatient with the sport’s national governing body to act, but they are impatient to enact the much-needed changes, and the next You will miss the opportunity of the season.

BCHL’s Stephen Cocker said, “Through our experts in the field of abuse and assault education, we are in the process of identifying ways to proactively educate our athletes.” We will continue to rely on these experts to create.” Same message across Canada. “LHJQ is committed to working with our teams and players to develop community-based programs and a safe environment for all development,” he said.

Hockey leagues across Canada are ready and willing to change. It remains to be seen if that commitment and commitment will come with the support of Hockey Canada. Hockey players, coaches, parents and administrators across Canada are currently navigating and implementing their own policies and programs until Hockey Canada’s “Action Plan” is put into action.

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