trudeau visits Leaside

Justin Trudeau pays a visit to the Leaside Wildcats hockey club

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met with young hockey players of the Toronto Leaside Wildcats last Wednesday at Leaside Memorial Gardens. At the arena, Trudeau held talks with former Mississauga mayor/pro hockey player Hazel McCallion, MPs Rob Oliphant and Adam van Koeverden, and Fran Rider, President of the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association (OWHA), to discuss the changes needed for hockey in Canada.

“Women’s hockey has had, and continues to have, an incredible impact on our country. Today, we spoke about that with Hazel McCallion and @OWHAHockey’s Fran Rider – and we discussed the importance of making sure hockey is safe for everyone. Our players deserve nothing less,” Trudeau tweeted after the event.

“To the Leaside Wildcats: On and off the ice, your teamwork and your commitment are making a difference. Keep working hard – and playing hard!”

Trudeau’s visit is timely and comes amidst Canadian hockey being embroiled in a scandal. In May 2022, it was reported that Hockey Canada, the national governing body for ice hockey in Canada, paid a settlement to a woman who said she was the victim of a sexual assault that took place in 2018 by members of Canada’s men’s national junior team. The incident allegedly took place after a gala game organized in London, Ontario, and involved eight players from the team.

The woman (now 22) filed a complaint in April 2022 and asked Hockey Canada for $3.5 million in damages. The organization settled the case out of court for an unknown amount of money, and the unnamed players allegedly involved in the incident escaped reprimand, which resulted in a national outcry.

In June 2022, the federal government froze funding for Hockey Canada (they provided $14 million in subsidies to the federation in the past two years). A federal inquiry into Hockey Canada’s handling of the allegations revealed a history of sexual misconduct cases against the organization, and that the organization had spent $7.6 million out of a fund that was partially funded by player registration fees to help pay out settlements in 21 sexual misconduct cases since 1989.

Since the scandal blew up, most of Hockey Canada’s corporate sponsors have suspended their relationship with the organization; Hockey Canada CEO Scott Smith has departed, and the entire board of directors stepped down.  The organization announced plans to address systemic issues in the culture of hockey.

As for the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association, they stated they will continue to advocate on behalf of hockey players and their families to help improve and transform the sport of hockey for Canadians.


“We’ll continue to offer our voice to our governing bodies to encourage positive change and demonstrate how women’s hockey can be the role model for such change,” the association stated in a recent Instagram post.

“As leaders in women’s hockey programming, the ( Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association) will continue to advocate on behalf of hockey players and their families to help improve and transform the sport of hockey for Canadians. We’ll continue to offer our voice to our governing bodies to encourage positive change and demonstrate how women’s hockey can be the role model for such change.”

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