A change in direction is needed at Hockey Canada: U of G professor of sports management
A day before Hockey Canada management is due to resume testimony before the Canadian Heritage Standing Committee on allegations of sexual misconduct among its players, the organization released an action plan to address “toxic behavior”.
For a sports management researcher at the University of Guelph, it’s too late.
Dr. Ann Pegoraro is the Lang Chair in Sports Management at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics and a professor in the Department of Management. She is also Co-Director of the National Research Network on Gender Equity in Canadian Sport and Director of the International Institute for Sport Business and Leadership.
“It should have been released earlier,” she says of the action plan. “And the timing of the release is a bit suspicious,” she adds, noting that the recommended changes are long overdue.
The revelation that Hockey Canada has paid millions to victims alleging sexual misconduct points to the need to consider exceptionalism in sport – the notion that elite organizations and athletes are excused from bad behavior and responsibility in how they govern themselves, she says.
Such actions have become normal in the sport, she adds.
Hockey Canada management has so far shown no accountability for the organization’s sexual misconduct scandal, she said. If the organization is to regain the trust of Canadians, Pegoraro believes its leadership must step down.
“You really can’t solve problems like this when you have the same people and the same mindsets that created the problems in the first place,” she says.
Instead, there should be more diversity at all levels of sports management, she says, adding that change will have to start at the local level before working its way through the system.
“We are reaching this tipping point where we have to look carefully at the structure of our system, the way we fund the sport and the win-at-all-costs mentality that we have embedded in the sport,” she adds.
Pegoraro has discussed the ongoing Hockey Canada scandal with several media outlets, including Quarter – N.B. on CBC Radio Saint Johnand The Bill Kelly Show on 900 CHML. She is available for interviews.
Dr. Ann Pegoraro