After months embroiled in controversy and facing calls for major leadership change, Hockey Canada has announced that Chief Executive Officer Scott Smith is out, “effective immediately.”
As well, the entire Hockey Canada board of directors has agreed to step down, “recognizing the urgent need for new leadership and perspectives.”
In a statement announcing the leadership team changes, Hockey Canada said that an “interim management committee will be put in place” to guide the organization until the next slate of directors appoints a new CEO.
That is expected to happen “no later” than the recently-delayed election now scheduled for December 17.
“Hockey Canada is seeking board candidates to shape the future of the organization. We encourage qualified individuals to respond to the call for nominations issued by the independent Nominating Committee last week,” the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.
For months, federal politicians have been examining Hockey Canada’s handling of alleged sexual assaults and lawsuit pay-outs, with all parties calling for a change to senior leadership and a full airing of the facts with a clear plan for reform.
Last week, after interim chair of the board of Hockey Canada Andrea Skinner suggested that it wasn’t worth risking the lights going off in Canadian rinks should all senior leaders leave, several major sponsors pulled their support and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested that the organization could be replaced.
Skinner resigned over the weekend.
Hockey Canada — which has hired a public relations firm to help navigate the controversy — has also said it is working on addressing safe sport concerns, has made changes to how it uses certain funding, and has appointed a former Supreme Court justice to conduct a governance review.
The national governing body for hockey in Canada said Tuesday that the interim management committee will “focus on day-to-day operations” as well as making sure progress is being made on its “action plan,” as well as implementing the recommendations that come from the governance review.