Bob Nicholson, former president and CEO of Hockey Canada, will speak before the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage on Tuesday.
Nicholson has been an executive with the Edmonton Oilers since 2014 and has been the NHL team’s chairman since 2019.
He was called before the parliamentary committee as part of the ongoing investigation of Hockey Canada.
The national sports organization has been mired in controversy for months over its mishandling of an allegation of sexual assault involving players in the 2018 men’s world junior team.
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An investigation into that sexual assault has been opened by police in London, Ont., and police in Halifax are investigating gang-rape allegations involving members of the 2003 men’s junior team. None of the allegations were proven in court.
Nicholson was in charge of Hockey Canada from 1998 to 2014.
Pat McLaughlin, Hockey Canada’s senior vice-president, will also appear before MPs on Tuesday.
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Hockey Canada has been under intense pressure since May when it was revealed the federation quietly settled a lawsuit after a woman claimed she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of the country’s junior world team, after a 2018 Hockey Canada Gala in London.
The federal government and corporate sponsors quickly cut off financial support, but the ugly headlines continued with the revelation that Hockey Canada paid the settlement out of the National Equity Fund, which was financed in part by the registration fees of youth players.
Hockey Canada’s former and current board chairs defended the sports body’s leadership in a hearing before the Canadian Heritage standing committee on Oct. 4.
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Former Chairman Michael Brind’Amour said in his testimony that he believed President and CEO Scott Smith had the qualities to “do something positive for the organization.” Interim chair Andrea Skinner told the committee that hockey should not be made a “scapegoat” or “centerpiece” for toxic culture that exists elsewhere.
Within a week of that committee meeting, Hockey Canada lost the support of several provincial federations, major sponsors like Nike and Bauer dropped their support, Smith was out, and the entire board of directors resigned.
The Oilers and their personnel decisions have also been criticized in recent years.
Edmonton signed forward Evander Kane in January after the San Jose Sharks terminated the remainder of his seven-year, $49 million contract for violating COVID-19 protocols while in the American Hockey League. Kane challenged the Sharks’ decision by filing a grievance through the NHL Players’ Association. The two parties reached a settlement in September.
Kane was also accused of domestic assault in 2021 when his ex-wife Anna Kane filed a restraining order against him during their divorce proceedings, with allegations of sexual assault and multiple alleged cases of domestic battery included in the paperwork.
Kane obtained a temporary restraining order against his ex-wife in August 2021, alleging abuse on four separate occasions from 2019 to 2021.
The NHL investigated the domestic abuse claims against Kane, but said in October 2021 that the allegations could not be substantiated.
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The Oilers also signed Jake Virtanen to a professional tryout agreement on September 19, after he was found not guilty of sexual assault. The 26-year-old was released from the PTO on October 6.
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