Hockey Edmonton takes its direction from our governing body, Hockey Alberta. At this time, we have not received any communication from Hockey Alberta to share with our Members regarding the recent events.
Silence is a big reason why we, as a nation, are here in the first place. Hockey Edmonton acknowledges that in the hockey culture at large, mistakes have been made, and in order to change, we must address the uncomfortable issues.
The entire country is finally talking about ‘the unspoken’, and we want to be a part of the conversation. To truly make a difference and to be a part of a greater solution, Hockey Edmonton cannot silently fly under the radar.
Hockey Edmonton will fully commit ourselves to accountability and transparency. Currently, Hockey Alberta receives $23.50 per Hockey Edmonton player. We are not privy to the exact breakdown of the funds allocated after we have paid the provincial body. No sexual abuse or racist incidents have been reported to our Discipline Committee or via our Respect the Game reporting system. Since the situation has been brought to light, Hockey Edmonton has had one parent inquire about the breakdown of fees that would go to Hockey Canada, and one parent who alluded to an issue that had not been reported. Should a report of sexual abuse/assault or racism be brought to Hockey Edmonton’s attention, all cases will be dealt with promptly by our Discipline Committee. Consequences of such harmful actions could lead to suspension from league play or even a lifetime ban from Hockey Edmonton programs. This situation has also instigated our organization to swiftly seek ways to improve our reporting. Should we receive direction from Hockey Alberta, we will update our practices further.
The situations involving the 2003 and 2018 national teams brought forth by the survivors have finally forced the issue to the surface, prompting a long-overdue call to action. The hockey community at large must - and will - address an undercurrent that has existed in the dark corners of the sport as a whole.
This is not strictly a “player problem” - parents, coaches, staff, and fans all need to commit to taking action to build empathy and awareness, especially in our children’s formative years. While Canadians involved in hockey are required to take a nationally-mandated ‘Respect In Sport’ course, we will find and implement ways to do better. We need everyone involved in the sport to have the tools to identify what harmful behaviour is, an avenue to challenge dangerous beliefs and actions, and the skills to intervene and prevent abuse.
We cannot say that Canada’s game, which is woven into the fabric of our country’s culture, is ‘for everyone’ until we have everyone truly show up to make a change.
Whether you are a part of the hockey community - or another sport community - we all have a choice to shift outdated practices. Everyone involved at every level must rise up to take action to teach the next generation how to make the entire sport community a safer space for all.