Hockey community can help change the system: U of G sports management professor
Amid renewed calls for changes to Hockey Canada’s leadership following the announcement of a second fund used to pay sexual assault claims, a University of Guelph sports management researcher is calling for the community action.
Dr. Ann Pegoraro is a Professor in the Department of Management and the Lang Chair in Sports Management at the Gordon S. Lang School of Business and Economics. 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.
With the second round of parliamentary hearings into the Hockey Canada scandal underway, Hockey Canada’s new interim president has called the situation “unduly cynical misinformation and attacks.”
This attitude, says Pegoraro, ignores the fact that it is ultimately “the voices of parents and participants that are critical to driving change in our national sport,” especially one that is so ingrained in Canadian culture, Pegoraro says.
“Hockey Canada does not own hockey in Canada. Hockey belongs to Canadians,” she adds.
She believes that a national sport standards system is a way for communities to effect effective change.
“The way the sport has been allowed to control itself and be very internal has created this rottenness of the situation,” she explained on The Bill Kelly Show on 900 CHML. “Finally, we have an Office of the Sports Integrity Commissioner, but we are struggling to get organizations to sign on.”
This system should start at the local level with the standards “functioning as ‘quality assurances’ for participants, as well as restoring trust within the sport system”, she says.
Once determined, these standards could be passed on to sports organizations at the national level to create a safer and more inclusive sporting environment.
To highlight the need for new Hockey Canada leadership, parents and players should provide testimonials and share their stories, adds Pegoraro.
“The power (for change) is in the members of the organization; they are the parents and the participants and they are the easiest and best lever for change,” she explained. Today, Hockey Quebec took the first steps with its vote of no confidence in Hockey Canada and its decision to withhold player registration fees.
These and other actions, including a full financial audit, will help the Canadian sport system move forward and become more transparent and trustworthy.
She is available for interviews.
Dr. Ann Pegoraro