Canada women’s hockey calls for ‘equal representation’ amid shake-up

(Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images)

The Canadian national women’s hockey team is calling for “equal representation and a seat at the table” within Hockey Canada as the governing body undergoes major changes in the wake of an abuse scandal.

In a statement first posted by defender Erin Ambrose and later reposted by other members of the national team, the players called recent developments from Hockey Canada “a first step in what we hope represents the beginning of positive change.”

Hockey Canada president and CEO Scott Smith announced his departure Tuesday, and the entire board of directors also resigned. The announcements came just days after interim board chair Andrea Skinner resigned after two months on the job.

The exits came on the heels of months-long turmoil in the organization, which began after TSN’s Rick Westhead reported in May that Hockey Canada had paid a settlement to a woman after she brought a $3.55 million lawsuit over an alleged assault by eight members of Canada’s World Junior team in 2018.

In July, Hockey Canada revealed it had also paid out $7.6 million in nine different settlements related by sexual abuse claims dating as far back as 1989.

In their statement, players asked for a board that will “embody [the] commitment” that the women’s national team has demonstrated to the sport.

“We are confident that a Board that truly embodies the diversity of our country and one that will advocate and fight for a safe and protected environment for all participants and fans will be appointed,” the players wrote.

“We ask for equal representation with a seat at the table, as we continue to promote and grow the women’s game globally, so that we may bring our perspective and input to ensure that our sports’ national governing body evolves to one that truly represents all Canadians and safeguards its participants.”

The team recently won its second straight world championship, capping off a run of three straight gold medals at major international events in the last year.