Former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada Thomas Cromwell looks on before being invested as a Companion of the Order of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on Thursday, March 14, 2019. Cromwell recommended wholesale change at Hockey Canada a day before the embattled sports organization's president and CEO and board resigned on Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

Hockey Canada board resigned after justice Thomas Cromwell’s recommendation

A former Supreme Court justice recommended wholesale change at Hockey Canada a day before the embattled sports organization’s president/CEO and board resigned on Tuesday.

Hockey Canada released a memo from justice Thomas Cromwell Thursday alongside his interim report reviewing the organization’s governance.

The memo, dated Monday, says “there can be no serious debate” Hockey Canada’s leadership had lost the confidence of important stakeholders and that calls for a change needed to be answered.

Cromwell recommended that Hockey Canada put in place a board and a board chair who agree to serve for only one year as a transition board. The transition board will be responsible for addressing “the many public concerns about the senior management team of the organization.”

Hockey Canada announced Tuesday that president and CEO Scott Smith had departed, and the entire board of directors resigned.The board will remain in place until a new board is elected at Hockey Canada’s annual general meeting on Dec. 17.

“I am not recommending that all of the directors immediately retire for the following reasons. The corporation would not be able to act without a board,” Cromwell wrote.

In his memorandum, Cromwell laid out four main tasks for the transition board:

— Respond, in conjunction with Hockey Canada members, to the suite of governance changes to be released in his final report;

— Address the many public concerns about its senior management team;

— Begin to repair fractured relationships with stakeholders;

— Ensure operational stability

“I take no pleasure in delivering these recommendations,” Cromwell wrote. “Nevertheless, I do so in order to further what I see as the best interests of Hockey Canada and of the sport itself.”

Cromwell was tasked in August with undertaking a full governance review of Hockey Canada after it was revealed that the organization reached an undisclosed settlement with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by eight players, including members of the country’s 2018 world junior team.

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