Nike suspends Hockey Canada partnership, ‘paused’ support after sex assault claims

Sportswear giant Nike has suspended its partnership with Hockey Canada, pausing all support for the sport’s national governing body amid an increasing backlash over its mishandling of alleged sexual assaults.

The announcement caps a week that saw corporate sponsors including Chevrolet Canada, Scotiabank and Canadian Tire suspend their support for Hockey Canada.

Nike spokesperson Sandra Carreon-John said Friday the athletic brand made the move because it was “deeply concerned” by the ongoing reports around the hockey organization.

“We believe significant and substantive action is required to support athletes and transform hockey for future generations,” she said in a statement.

The company will continue to monitor the situation and awaits more information around what Hockey Canada will do to support investigations into the sexual assaults, Carreon-John said.

Hockey Canada’s website lists Nike as one of four premier marketing partners.

The other three — Tim Hortons, Esso and Telus — have also suspended support for hockey’s governing body.

A spokesman for Bauer said Friday the company is monitoring the current developments involving Hockey Canada.

Last July, hockey equipment maker Bauer Hockey announced it was pausing financial sponsorship of the world junior hockey championships last summer.

‘Extremely disturbing’ allegations, response

Mary-Kay Messier, vice-president of global marketing for Bauer, said at the time that the allegations and response were “extremely disturbing and raise questions about our partnership moving forward.”

“As a leader in our sport, we will dive deeper and continue to hold Hockey Canada accountable,” she said in a July statement.

“We are also committed to driving and leading positive culture change in the game and at Hockey Canada because we want to ensure hockey is

WATCH l The Fifth Estate examines the national shame inside Hockey Canada:

Hockey Canada is on the defensive over allegations that some members of its gold-medal winning World Junior team in 2018 took part in a group sexual assault, and the organization didn’t do enough to hold players accountable. The Fifth Estate examines the national shame inside Canada’s game, and the disturbing history that suggests this was not an isolated incident.

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