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Canada's national sport is embroiled in scandal. Hockey Canada's leadership resigns

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Canada's national sport is embroiled in a scandal. The entire leadership of Hockey Canada has now stepped down. For months, the sport's governing body has contended with revelations about sexual assaults allegations and slush funds worth millions used by Hockey Canada to settle lawsuits. Emma Jacobs has more from Montreal.

EMMA JACOBS, BYLINE: The unfolding scandal at Hockey Canada has become the subject of wall-to-wall coverage.

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UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Breaking news about an exodus at Hockey Canada.

JACOBS: Pressure on the organization, which fields Canada's national teams but is also the governing body for amateur hockey, has been growing for months. Canadian news outlets have revealed multiple settlements made by Hockey Canada in sexual assault cases. These include one claim by a woman alleging she was assaulted by a group of eight members of the 2018 junior national team. Canadians have also learned the organization created slush funds to settle lawsuits from the registration fees of kids and recreational league players. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the resignations but said the fact that they had taken so long showed the organization had not understood the gravity of the situation.

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PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU: There's work to do to transform the culture at Hockey Canada, but today was an important first step.

JACOBS: Just last week, interim board chair Andrea Skinner had defended the leadership when she answered questions from a parliamentary committee investigating the scandal.

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ANDREA SKINNER: Suggesting that toxic behavior is somehow a specific hockey problem or to scapegoat hockey as a centerpiece for toxic culture is, in my opinion, counterproductive to finding solutions and risks overlooking the change that needs to be made more broadly.

JACOBS: The outcry over her remarks was immediate, and Skinner resigned over the weekend. The criticism of Hockey Canada has come not just from fans but from sponsors.

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UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (As character) The early-rising parents, the backyard rink builders.

JACOBS: Long time sponsors like Canadian Tire, Nike and Tim Hortons have cut back or pulled their support. But this is not going to be the end of the chapter. More revelations are expected from an independent investigative group created by Hockey Canada, and there are ongoing police investigations.

For NPR News, I'm Emma Jacobs in Montreal. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.