(Toronto) Following allegations of gang rape against eight Junior Team Canada players in 2018, will other Hockey Canada partners follow Scotiabank?
Updated yesterday at 20:36.
The financial institution said Tuesday it was shelving its affiliation with Hockey Canada. A few days earlier, the Trudeau government had announced that it would temporarily suspend its multi-million dollar funding for the organization.
Sent in an email to The press On Tuesday, another partner, Imperial (Esso), said it was concerned by the allegations but did not officially state its intention to step away from Hockey Canada.
“We have communicated to Hockey Canada our expectations that concrete actions will be taken immediately to respond to such issues and ensure culture change,” Imperial spokesman Karl Scoby wrote. At the same time, our organization continues to support ice hockey in Canada and youth programs across the country. »
According to The Athletic’s Katie Strang, Canadian Tire is withdrawing its sponsorship of the World Junior Championships, which will be held in August. In a screenshot the journalist posted to Twitter, the company also writes that it wants to “reevaluate its relationship with Hockey Canada” and also urges it “to fulfill its commitment to changing the systemic culture of silence in our national sport.” .
For his part, Brian J. Porter, President and CEO of Scotiabank, pointed out that the institution “needs to be confident that the right steps are being taken to improve the culture within the sport – both on and off the ice” before she can return his position.
“There was an observation following testimony by Hockey Canada leaders in the Parliamentary Committee last week and it is unfortunate that the actions taken, the manner in which Hockey Canada has dealt with this file has not been effective and transparent,” Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge said during a press conference on Tuesday.
“The federal government has therefore decided to suspend the funding. Now we see that other civil society partners have chosen the same path. The message to Hockey Canada is clear: they must change their leadership, improve their practices and management, and ensure the safety of players and the public. »
Good reactions? “Scotiabank follows the government and has responded quickly,” responds Myriam Brouard, professor of marketing at the University of Ottawa. It’s the first brand to do this. She shows determined support. It is not in ambivalence and has diverted its funding to other areas of sport. »
In fact, the sponsorships planned for the next World Junior Championships in August will be allocated to other programs “including the Hockey Canada Foundation, which is successfully helping to remove the financial barriers associated with hockey for young people, and the Women’s World Championship.” it says in a press release. A donation will also be made to the Canadian Women’s Foundation, which supports women victims of gender-based violence.
A clear positioning of the other partners is absolutely necessary, believes Myriam Brouard. “Especially at a time when there is a lot of talk about violence against women and abortion rights,” she notes. The exposure of the allegations opens the door to other similar stories. »
“When you sponsor an event, it’s about reaching people,” adds Stéphane Mailhiot, co-president of advertising agency Havas Montréal. But the love rating is important. »
The advertiser reminds that Nike supported the renowned golfer at the time of the Tiger Woods scandal. “The notes associated with his performance have stayed, but those associated with his gentlemanly side are gone,” he says.
In addition, there is reason for the sponsors to question the origin of the funds that made an amicable settlement of the case possible. Hockey Canada has vowed no public funds were used to pay for the alleged victim. But what about private funds?
Sponsors have the same reflex as the government: I hope my money didn’t go to it.
Stéphane Mailhiot, Co-President of the advertising agency Havas Montréal
As such, Scotiabank said it expects Hockey Canada to “cooperate fully with the federal government” and want to ensure its sponsorship funds are used “as intended.”
But what is your responsibility as a sponsor when caught in such a storm? asks Stephane Mailhiot.
“Are you going or staying to help clean up? he throws. There is no scandal more disgusting than this, but as it must not happen again as hockey is hugely popular and the sport will always attract spectators, a sponsor could apply pressure for the organization to clean up its practices while also being part of the solution. It’s another way to exercise leadership as a brand. »
Accompanied by The pressPartners Tim Hortons, Tempur Sealy and BDO Canada have not responded to our messages.
In collaboration with Julien Arsenault and Jean-François Téotonio, The press