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Hockey Canada defends senior leadership, blames media and politicians for ‘unduly cynical attacks’

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Hockey Canada’s Chair of the Board of Directors Andrea Skinner took a defiant stance in defending the organization to Canadian Parliamentary members by reaffirming support for senior leadership and blaming the media and politicians for piling on in the wake of a scandal that has engulfed the national governing body.

Skinner was one of two witnesses who appeared before the Canadian Heritage Committee on Tuesday in the third round of hearings to address how Hockey Canada handled a 2018 sexual assault allegation that was settled earlier this year. The newly-appointed chair doubled down on the board’s belief that senior management acted appropriately upon learning that a young woman said she was sexually assaulted by eight junior hockey players following a Hockey Canada Foundation event in London, Ont., in 2018 and said that she felt that the sport was being unfairly targeted by claims of cultural toxicity.

“Regrettably, toxic behavior exists throughout society. No segment of society is immune,” Skinner said in her opening statement. “Suggesting that toxic behavior is somehow a specific hockey problem or to scapegoat hockey as a centerpiece for toxic culture is, in my opinion, counterproductive to finding solutions.”

In testimony that seemed to echo Hockey Canada’s communications counter-offensive (the organization recently sent out a survey to members asking whether they felt the scrutiny on the organization was “overblown”), Skinner voiced emphatic support for embattled CEO Scott Smith and the senior leadership team.

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Marner extends point streak to 16 games, Maple Leafs beat Penguins – Sportsnet.ca

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Croatian coach feels disrespected by Canadian coach's comment at FIFA World Cup – Toronto Sun

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DOHA, Qatar — Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalic said he felt disrespected by Canada head coach John Herdman for his comment in a group huddle following a loss to Belgium on Wednesday.

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After the emotional 1-0 loss at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium, Herdman gathered his troops on the field and gave an impassioned speech.

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When asked following the game what he told his team, Herdman admitted he told his group to ‘F’ Croatia, in reference to Canada’s second game at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

On the eve of the game Sunday (11 a.m. ET) at the Khalifa International Stadium, Croatian coach Zlatko Zlatko Dalic was again asked about the comment at the pre-match press conference here on Saturday.

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“Canadians must have respect for us and this way of putting words together is not a sign of respect,” Dalic said through an interpreter. “We are the runners up (2018 World Cup), it wasn’t Brazil or Spain or any other country. We are the runners up, we were second in the world, we are worth of respect the way we played, the way we behave, the way we respect all others, is the reason we are worthy or respect.

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“I shall not focus or comment on other people’s comment. We will be prepared, be fit and we will demonstrate respect from Canada and from everyone else. We expect respect just as we exercise this view.”

Croatia was a surprising World Cup finalist four years ago in Russia, beating England in the semifinal before losing to France. Along the way, Croatia also beat Argentina in the group stage.

Croatia was held to a scoreless draw in its opening match by Morocco on Wednesday. Croatia concluded the group stage against Belgium on Thursday.

“The Croatia team deserves respect from everyone; we have proven that by the way we’ve played with our conduct at the World Cup; since the very beginning we’ve deserved respect and dignity,” Dalic said. “We have two (World Cup) medals in the last 30 years and we’re up there with Germany and France and countries like that have such an achievement. We respect everyone equally so we expect our opposing teams to respect us. We are worth of their respect.”

Croatia striker Ivan Perisic was also asked for his thoughts on Herdman’s comments.

“I second the head coach,” he said. “And I cannot wait for the match to begin.”

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