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CEO Scott Smith out at Hockey Canada, board of directors resigns

Scott Smith spent nearly three decades climbing the ladder at Hockey Canada.
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A Hockey Canada logo is shown on the jersey of a player with Canada’s National Junior Team during a training camp practice in Calgary, Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2022. © THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Scott Smith spent nearly three decades climbing the ladder at Hockey Canada.

He lasted just over three months at the top thanks to a series of scandals that have rocked the sport's national federation to its core.

Smith is out as Hockey Canada's president and CEO, the organization announced Tuesday. The board of directors has also resigned.

Smith was unable to survive the fallout related to Hockey Canada's handling of sexual assault allegations and how settlements were paid out that enraged the country and opened yet another conversation about the sport's toxic culture.

The 55-year-old follows former board chair Michael Brind'Amour, who resigned in August, and interim chair Andrea Skinner, who stepped down Saturday, as casualties at the embattled federation that has seen politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, call for leadership change and corporate sponsors jump ship.

Smith took over from outgoing CEO Tom Renney on July 1 after a succession plan was announced in April. But Hockey Canada's world started to come crashing down shortly thereafter.

TSN was first to report in May that an undisclosed settlement had been paid to a woman who alleged in a $3.55-million lawsuit she was sexually assaulted by eight players — including members of the country's world junior team — after a 2018 Hockey Canada gala in London, Ont.

The ugly headlines continued with the revelation of a secretive Hockey Canada fund partly maintained by minor hockey registration fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault and abuse claims. 

A Hockey Canada official testified on Parliament Hill in July the organization had doled out $7.6 million in nine settlements related to sexual assault and abuse claims since 1989, not including this year's payout to the London plaintiff. The majority went to the victims of disgraced former junior hockey coach Graham James. 

The organization then announced members of the 2003 men's world junior team are being investigated for a group sexual assault, as calls for change at the top mounted. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 11, 2022.

Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press