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Hockey Canada names nominees for the new board of directors

From the chair on down, this is a quality group of people.

World Cup of Hockey - Media Day Photo by Graig Abel/World Cup of Hockey via Getty Images

This group is not yet the new board; rather, it is the candidates selected by a group of arm’s length volunteers. There is only one candidate for chair, however, and just enough people to make up the full board of eight. There is a virtual election process this coming weekend where the provincial bodies that make up the membership of Hockey Canada will vote, but it’s not clear what they’re voting for here. This board will serve for one year only and will guide Hockey Canada into a new phase with a new senior management team chosen by them.

There’s a lot of quality and experience in this group.

Hugh L. Fraser, tapped to become the new chair for the coming year has so many qualifications, this article could just be about him.

He is a former senior judge in Ontario, an Olympian, sports law expert and has been an arbitrator for the NHL, the Olympics and the Court of Arbitration for Sport. He was formerly the Commissioner for Athletics Canada and has personally investigated code of conduct complaints, sexual misconduct complaints and has assisted an organization with revision of its harassment policy.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg of his qualifications for this specific role.

Grant Borbridge: Vice President and Corporate Secretary at Trimac Transportation in Calgary. He has corporate law and management experience and runs a private side business as an advisor in Board Governance and legal issues in the corporate sector.

Cassie Campbell-Pascall: Sportsnet and ESPN broadcaster and former elite hockey player. You know who she is, and what she brings to the table — experience of how playing for Hockey Canada’s national team really works, and doesn’t work.

Julie Duranceau: Mediator, investigator and conflict management consultant in Quebec. She is a lawyer, and has mediated labour and civil and commercial issues, including in the sports business world.

Dave Evans: an Ontario native with two decades of executive experience in consulting, advisory and real-estate industries.

Marni Fullerton: is a journalist and entrepreneur who has done a lot of things from producing a TV series to working as an on-air reporter to advising government agencies. She was part of the Vancouver Olympic Planning Committee and has chaired festival boards and served on many others in the non-profit sector.

Jonathan F. Goldbloom: is a partner at Avenue Strategic Communications in Montréal. He is a crisis management specialist.

Marian Jacko: the Children’s Lawyer for Ontario, and part of the Indigenous Justice Division of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. She is president of the Little Native Hockey League, and is a long time coach.

Andrea Poole: is an accountant and auditor with executive experience running her own firm.

This group ticks all the boxes: lawyers, an accountant, a crisis manager who isn’t from Navigator and corporate business as well as non-profit experienced executives. There’s women’s hockey, Indigenous hockey and journalism here.

If I had to say one thing is missing it’s that connection between insular hockey organizations and the wider cultural problems of secrecy and silence that protects perpetrators of sexual violence and abuse. There’s lawyers here who aren’t naive about how the world works or how hockey culture builds on that, but I think I want an academic in this mix. Someone who understands the cause and effect, not just the industry standard best practices. Maybe even just a human resources expert.

The board can’t be every person who could improve Hockey Canada, of course. That’s really the new CEO’s job, and the job of all the executives. The Cromwell report found a lot to criticize about Hockey Canada’s board and its governance, but their basic day-to-day practices of running the organization were found wanting as well.

This is a good start, maybe an excellent start, and there’s this feeling of the grownups being in charge now that was missing before. But the real proof is who is hired to really run this organization and also how they start communicating with the public from now on. They’ve been doing that very badly so far.

I realize this kind of announcement isn’t nearly as exciting as headlines about “slush funds”, coverups, or the millions paid out to perpetrators, but this is the real work of making over this organization. This is what matters.