CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — Andrea Skinner has been appointed interim chair of Hockey Canada’s board of directors amid scrutiny of the organization for its handling of sexual assault allegations against members of previous men’s junior teams.
Skinner, a Toronto attorney, is the first woman to lead the Hockey Canada board. She succeeds Michael Brind’Amour, who resigned last week.
The national governing body’s 13 provincial, regional and territorial associations recommended Skinner step in as interim chair until the current board’s term ends in November, Hockey Canada said Tuesday in a statement.
The federal government froze Hockey Canada’s funding after it was revealed the organization had quietly settled a lawsuit with a woman who alleged she was sexually assaulted by members of the 2018 men’s junior team at the Hockey Canada gala in London, Ontario, that year.
Since then, Hockey Canada has said members of the 2003 junior team are under investigation for alleged sexual assault in Nova Scotia.
The funding freeze will continue until Hockey Canada meets several conditions, including a plan to change its culture. Hockey Canada has appointed former Supreme Court of Canada judge Thomas Cromwell to review its governance.
“Since 1914, Hockey Canada has been the organization that Canadians have trusted to lead, develop and promote positive hockey experiences. Recent events have called that trust into question,” Hockey Canada said in the statement announcing Skinner’s appointment.
“Through the recent launch of Hockey Canada’s Action Plan, we are committed to, among other things, elevating the expectations for everyone involved in hockey and effecting positive behavior from the grassroots to the national team level.”
Skinner was first elected to the board in 2020. She played four years of college hockey at Cornell.
“As a board we are listening to Canadians,” Skinner said. “We are working to make meaningful positive changes to the culture of the sport of hockey.”