Canada Hockey Poll Questions Draw Criticism from Canadian Members

A poll sent out by Hockey Canada late last week infuriated its members and other Canadians for some of the questions the embattled organization is asking.

The survey, a copy of which was sent to Sportsnet by a dissatisfied member, was sent to coaches, officials, parents, players and other volunteers involved in the game across the country.

Hosted by New York-based market research firm Forsta, the survey asks more than a dozen questions about Hockey Canada’s handling of recent sexual assault allegations involving members of the 2003 and 2018 Canadian Global Youth Teams.

One section discusses the next moves for Hockey Canada. In it, members are asked to rate the importance – using a scale from “not at all important” to “very important” – of several possible strategies going forward. Questions were included about whether Hockey Canada should “offer new leadership,” “explain what happened,” “make an apology,” and “stop using membership fees to cover uninsured sexual misconduct claims.”

Another section of respondents asks to strongly agree or disagree with the following statement: “The level of criticism by the media toward Hockey Canada is exaggerated.”

Twitter users took part in the survey, with comments ranging from “The questions in this survey tell you exactly where they are. Things need to change!!” To “As a hockey parent, coach, team manager, team coach, and timekeeper, I can assure you that the media criticism doesn’t even come close to the disgust I feel for you over the sexual assault scandal.”

In a statement emailed to Sportsnet, Hockey Canada said it was conducting virtual public halls to solicit feedback from members, and the poll was an extension of that strategy. For questions related to the survey, Hockey Canada’s statement said, “Certain survey questions were created to measure sentiment and awareness of issues facing Hockey Canada from members of the hockey community.”

Many of the questions and answers suggested in the survey are addressed in the Hockey Canada Action Plan, which was published on its website on July 14 and brought up by CEO Scott Smith during the July 25 hearings in Ottawa.

“Hockey Canada has not under any circumstances downplayed the challenges facing our organization, or the shocking allegations of sexual assault against former members of the National Junior Team,” Hockey Canada’s statement continues. “We have been very clear that we recognize that we need to do better and are committed to making the necessary changes to promote a safe and positive environment for all participants on and off the ice.”

Hockey Canada has not commented on the number of surveys submitted or what will be done with the survey results.

Sample questions in the survey:

How would you describe your current view of hockey Canada?

There have been several allegations of sexual assault in the past against young Canadian players in the organization. How well do you know the allegations about budding hockey players?

How closely do you follow media coverage (including social media coverage) regarding hockey Canada?

Based on what you know, how do you feel about Hockey Canada’s performance in terms of addressing the issue? In your opinion, Canada’s hockey performance was… (answer fill in)

How well do you know Hockey Canada’s response to this issue?

What can Hockey Canada do to improve your impression?