New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says the province is “fully aligned” with Nova Scotia in its decision to monitor Hockey Canada’s response to the controversy over its handling of sexual assault allegations, before hosting the 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship.

N.B. premier says cutting ties with world junior hockey event not off table

Higgs told reporters Friday he wants to see “some concrete action in relation to the concerns.”

The tournament is set to be held in Halifax and Moncton. Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said Thursday he wants to see “some meaningful changes” before it goes forward.

Higgs said Friday cutting ties with the event is not off the table.

“We have considered it… But we’ll do that jointly with our colleagues in Nova Scotia, because there wouldn’t be a separate decision made,” he said.

“All considerations are being a part of the equation.”

New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are a joint sponsor of the event, and Higgs said he hopes it won’t get to the point where the provinces need to pull out of the tournament. According to him, a decision will be made in the coming weeks.

“I would say by the end of October, it really shouldn’t be any longer than that,” Higgs said.

“Tim and I are fully aligned on next steps and how we move together as a partner in this event.”

Hockey Nova Scotia said Thursday it will be formally suspending the transfer of participant assessment fees to Hockey Canada for the 2022-23 season. This comes after Ontario’s provincial federations for the sport made the same call, and after Hockey Quebec announced it is cutting ties with its federal counterpart.

The list of sponsors dropping Hockey Canada is growing. To date, it includes among others Telus, Tim Hortons, Canadian Tire and Sobeys, which recently said it is “disgusted” by the allegations.

Hockey New Brunswick not cutting ties with federation

The provincial hockey associations of New Brunswick and Newfoundland and Labrador are highlighting their efforts to address sexual violence amid criticism the national governing body mishandled alleged sexual assaults.

But Hockey New Brunswick and Hockey Newfoundland and Labrador stopped short of cutting ties with Hockey Canada, as other provincial associations have recently done.

Hockey New Brunswick said in a statement today that it acknowledges growing concern about hockey culture and the sport’s governance in Canada.

It says it is “actively working to create education opportunities” that address sexual violence, masculinity and discrimination.

Meanwhile, Hockey Newfoundland said Thursday it is proud to have recently established a sexual violence prevention program for its members, as well as an LGBTQ2+ policy.

Hockey Canada has been under intense scrutiny since May, when it was revealed 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 gala in London, Ont.

Allegations of gang sexual assault involving the 2003 world junior team emerged in July. None of the allegations have been proven in court.

N.B. premier says cutting ties with world junior hockey event not off table
2:02 Hockey Canada brass should leave before they ‘burn it to the ground,’ minister says

Hockey Canada brass should leave before they ‘burn it to the ground,’ minister says

It has also been revealed that Hockey Canada kept a fund partly maintained by minor hockey registration fees to pay for uninsured liabilities, including sexual assault and abuse claims.

In response, Hockey Ontario, Hockey Quebec and Hockey Nova Scotia have distanced themselves from the national governing body over the past week.

Hockey Nova Scotia said Thursday it has “lost confidence” in Hockey Canada’s leadership and is suspending the transfer of funds to the national organization. Hockey Quebec passed a similar resolution on Wednesday morning, and the Ontario Hockey Federation followed with a request asking Hockey Canada not to collect the $3 participant assessment fee from its more than 200,000 members.

Neither New Brunswick nor Newfoundland’s hockey associations said they would cut funding to Hockey Canada.
— With files from Global News’ Karla Renic.

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