Connect with us


Defining Hockey Canada's problem in plain English continues to be a problem – The Globe and Mail



Witnesses Scott Smith and Brian Cairo appear at the standing committee on Canadian Heritage in Ottawa on July 27.Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

When Hockey Canada officials last showed up to take questions from MPs, they came off like typical sports bureaucrats. Sure of themselves, shaky on the facts and totally oblivious to the fact that everyone was enraged at them.

The usual ‘Yeah, we’ll try to get back to you’ approach went over about as well as pulling a gun in the committee room.

On Wednesday, the heads of the five hockey families returned noticeably chastened. This time they had numbers to hand. In the most non-specific terms possible, they embraced the idea that something has gone badly wrong in their operation. Defining that thing in plain English continued to be a problem, but everyone agreed it was definitely something.


What had changed most was job descriptions. These sports wonks had read Twitter and now understood their new function – as zookeepers.

Canadian hockey players are animals. It’s the Canadian hockey establishment’s job to keep them from killing chickens.

“We’ll dramatically expand the number of players who are exposed to enhanced education with respect to off-ice issues,” said Hockey Canada chief executive officer Scott Smith. “These players will carry that training back to their leagues, provincial and minor hockey associations.”

Smith said that in his opening statement, back when he was still young and full of hope that he might keep his job. Three hours in, after MPs from every party had called for his head and tried to hand him a saw, he was less co-operative.

Someone tried to nail him down on whether or not the problems at Hockey Canada, and in hockey generally, are “systemic.” Smith ducked and weaved. But if you were listening, you’d have gotten his answer at the outset.

If you need to pull the big wolves out of the wild and domesticate them in the hopes they will go back and convince all the lesser wolves to stop being so wolf-like, that’s a system-wide issue. If implementing basic human decency requires government intervention and a 19-page “Action Plan,” the system is fried.

“Players, no matter their skill, must know they cannot act with impunity,” said another game warden, CHL president Dan MacKenzie.

What an amazing sentence. It suggests this is a new idea.

That everyone’s always known that Roger, who’s stuck on the fourth line, can’t go around beating up women and expect the lawyers and insurance guys to make that problem disappear before the NHL draft. But as of right now that same rule applies to Jimmy, who’s leading the team in power-play goals and getting called up to Team Canada. This is your first and only warning, Jimmy. There’s a new bunch of old sheriffs in town.

The text of Wednesday’s hearings was fact-gathering about a single alleged assault and its aftermath. How much money was in Hockey Canada’s sex-abuse piggy bank? Who got it and when? How was it dispersed?

Smith was pressed repeatedly about business basics like keeping minutes of in-camera board meetings and doing due diligence around lawsuits. He said a lot of words that did not amount to answers. When in doubt, Smith blamed the lawyers.

“You need better lawyers,” said MP Anthony Housefather.

That was as close as Housefather, Smith’s most effective antagonist, got to a kill quote.

MP Kevin Waugh also connected with a jab: “When I look to the seven of you, and three on Zoom, that’s not the face of hockey today. That front row tells me everything.”

Occasional zingers aside, there was no great revelation or shocking stumble that will redefine this scandal. For that, you needed to pay attention to the subtext.

What no one has bothered to do during all of this is rebut the idea that young men who are good at hockey are also inherently perverse. Not some of them, but all of them. That they do what they like to whomever is unlucky enough to cross their path in the wrong hotel room late at night.

You’d think Hockey Canada would have some interest in mounting a character defence of the typical hockey player. Until very recently, when we thought of ‘good Canadians,’ we pictured nurses and firemen and a guy behind the bench coaching kids, who will all grow up to be good guys and hockey dads. Hockey Canada made a lot of money marketing this Tim Hortons utopia.

But having been caught bending the rules to protect that brand, Canada’s hockey establishment is now pressing the self-destruct button. In order to save itself, it has to destroy hockey.

Pull back from the talking points and the gotcha questions. What message are the people who run hockey in Canada trying to send? It’s twofold – hockey does not have a systematic problem (ergo, we are not the problem); the players must be Clockwork Orange’d until they are functioning citizens again.

It’s the players who’ve lost their way. Hockey Canada is the good guy. It’s trying to help the victims and make them sign NDAs, but only if they want to.

Underneath the bureaucratese, you can faintly hear the real explanation: ‘We tried, but what are you going to do with these brutes? Every once in a while, they’re going to get loose, and then it’s our job to get them back in a box before they panic the locals.’

If you didn’t believe hockey had a culture problem before Wednesday, you should now. For three hours, we were shown why players raised under Hockey Canada’s wing think they are above the normal codes of conduct that apply to the rest of us. Because the people in charge think the same thing.

If you’re caught, deny. If you’re really caught, find someone else to blame. And if there’s no one left to blame, blame the game and everyone in it. They are corrupted, not you. They require radical intervention and re-education. Since you were the one to see the taint on them, the duty falls to you to fix things. (Smith had the cheek to say his future bonuses – bonuses! – should be tied to this clean-up effort.)

As business cons go, it’s the sort that could only work on the very gullible or the very forgiving. Something tells me that when it comes to the people who run hockey, few Canadians are inclined to be either.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Adblock test (Why?)


Source link

Continue Reading


Maple Leafs clinch playoff berth with Panthers loss to Senators



The Toronto Maple Leafs clinched a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs on Monday.

The Maple Leafs (44-20-9), who clinched when the Florida Panthers lost 5-2 to the Ottawa Senators, are second in the Atlantic Division, 22 points behind the Boston Bruins and seven ahead of the third-place Tampa Bay Lightning.

It’s the seventh straight season Toronto has clinched a playoff berth. It hasn’t won a postseason series since 2004.

The Maple Leafs are led by forwards Mitchell Marner (94 points), William Nylander (81), Auston Matthews (77), and John Tavares (75). Ilya Samsonov is 24-9-3 with a 2.46 goals-against average, .914 save percentage and three shutouts in 36 games (35 starts). Matt Murray is 14-8-2 with a 2.97 GAA, .905 save percentage and one shutout in 25 games.


Toronto made several moves prior to the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline on March 3, acquiring forwards Ryan O’Reilly and Noel Acciari from the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 17, defenseman Jake McCabe and forward Sam Lafferty from the Chicago Blackhawks on Feb. 27, defenseman Erik Gustafsson from the Washington Capitals on Feb. 28 and defenseman Luke Schenn from the Vancouver Canucks on Feb. 28.

O’Reilly is expected back before the playoffs begin April 17. He hasn’t played since getting hit in the hand by Matthews’ shot in the second period of a 4-1 loss at the Vancouver Canucks on March 4 and was projected to be out four weeks.

The Maple Leafs have won the Stanley Cup 11 times, once each as the Toronto Arenas (1917-18) and the Toronto St. Patricks (1921-22). They are without an NHL championship since 1967.


Source link

Continue Reading


Canadian Bianca Andreescu retires from Miami Open match after suffering injury



Canadian Bianca Andreescu suffered an apparent leg injury during the second set of her match against Ekaterina Alexandrova at the Miami Open on Monday.

Andreescu was injured in the third game of the second set of the Round of 16 match while trying to run down a ball in the back court.  She remained down on the court, before receiving medical attention and leaving the court in a wheelchair.

Alexandrova won the first set of the match 7-6, Andreescu was up 2-0 in the second set when she retired from the match due to the injury.

The match was delayed for an hour by rain in the middle of the opening set.


The 22-year-old Canadian was playing well at the Miami tournament, entering play on Monday with victories over Emma Raducanu, No. 7 Maria Sakkari and Sofia Kenin earlier in the competition.


Source link

Continue Reading


Quick Reaction: Wizards 104, Raptors 114



O. Anunoby37 MIN, 29 PTS, 8 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 11-21 FG, 4-10 3FG, 3-4 FT, 3 BLK, 1 TO, 18 +/-

From the opening tip OG was a force offensively and continued to flash the self creation signs that everyone wants to see, he had a career high 18 in the first quarter and hit a lot of tough jumpers off the bounce, as well as spaced the floor with catch and shoot triples.

P. Siakam34 MIN, 19 PTS, 11 REB, 2 AST, 1 STL, 7-17 FG, 1-3 3FG, 4-4 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, -3 +/-

Pretty poor game from Pascal by his standards, a lot of shots seemed forced and he couldn’t finish through contact, very well, his playmaking also was muted because he seemed to be hunting his own shot.

J. Poeltl26 MIN, 12 PTS, 12 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 6-9 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 3 TO, 7 +/-

Jakob’s floaters and push shots worked wonderfully tonight and he did a great job not rushing it like he does most games, offensive rebounding was also key as well, Jakob had 6 in this game which led to countless second chance points.

S. Barnes32 MIN, 13 PTS, 5 REB, 6 AST, 3 STL, 5-14 FG, 0-2 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-


Solid game in his first game back from injury, hit some tough looks in the paint, passing looked good tonight as well, efficiency was a bit off but we can chalk that up to being rusty.

F. VanVleet36 MIN, 28 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL, 10-21 FG, 5-9 3FG, 3-3 FT, 1 BLK, 1 TO, 11 +/-

Offensive masterclass from Fred VanVleet, he was zooming all over the floor and he was really burning Washington with his outside shooting, but his playmaking shined really bright tonight as well.

W. Barton04 MIN, 2 PTS, 1 REB, 1 AST, 1 STL, 1-1 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 0 +/-

Left the game early with an injury.

C. Boucher22 MIN, 6 PTS, 7 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 3-5 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, 10 +/-

Boucher was battling on the class yet again and often gave Toronto an extra look tonight, he also was solid as a rim protector as well.

J. Dowtin Jr.19 MIN, 3 PTS, 2 REB, 4 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 1-1 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, 14 +/-

Didn’t add a whole lot offensively but he was harassing guys on ball as a defender, and moving the rock well as well, would like to see Dowtin look for his own a bit more often

C. Koloko15 MIN, 0 PTS, 1 REB, 0 AST, 3 STL, 0-2 FG, 0-0 3FG, 0-0 FT, 1 BLK, 0 TO, 7 +/-

Koloko entered the game by recording a steal and then a block on back to back possessions, and then he continued to play solid defense in drop coverage, really strong game for the rook.

M. Flynn07 MIN, 0 PTS, 0 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 0-3 FG, 0-3 3FG, 0-0 FT, 0 BLK, 0 TO, -10 +/-

Didn’t take advantage of his looks on the floor tonight.

P. Achiuwa06 MIN, 2 PTS, 2 REB, 0 AST, 0 STL, 1-2 FG, 0-1 3FG, 0-2 FT, 0 BLK, 1 TO, -10 +/-

Another rough night for Precious as he tries to regain his footing, just couldn’t find it defensively, ran the floor in transition just fine during limited time.

Nick Nurse

Although Toronto was healthier, Nurse didn’t force anyone into minutes that were going to damage the team.

Things We Saw

  1. OG Anunoby flashed creation skills once again, in the face up game he burned Washington many times and he even hit a pull up three.
  2. Christian Koloko played some pretty nice defense, his technique in drop was really good tonight.

Source link

Continue Reading