Hockey Canada's controversial decision

Controversial Hockey Canada decision


Even though its leadership was in turmoil last summer, Hockey Canada continued to make one-sided decisions. Among them, the federation has decided to impose the full face protector for the junior A and AAA leagues in the country. 

It was the former members of the board of directors who endorsed the proposal with the support of the other leaders. Since that day, they have all left Hockey Canada in the wake of the 2018 Junior Team Canada scandal. 

Hockey Canada's decision is expected to be effective as of the World Junior A Championship in mid -december. However, six weeks from that date, the circuits of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CHJL) do not yet know which foot to dance on. 

“It makes no sense,” said LHJAAAQ commissioner Kevin Figsby. There was a vote that was taken without the various leagues having been consulted.

Commissioner of the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League (LHJAAAQ) Kevin Figsby (right) tries to find answers to Hockey Canada's directive.

“It’s for an insurance issue like all the other rule changes. No figures or statistics were presented by Hockey Canada to justify its decision.

He had the chance to discuss the situation with the general manager of Hockey Quebec, Jocelyn Thibault, on a few occasions. 

“Like us, Jocelyn is trying to get the statistics and the reasons for Hockey Canada behind this decision. He does the best he can.

“We have a lot of unanswered questions. How can the decisions of Hockey Canada board members still be legitimate after they leave? If I can find an answer to that, it's because I have the next Loto-Max winning numbers! p>LHJAAAQ players have been wearing the half-visor for almost 30 years. Those who want to put on the full face shield for one reason or another can do so. 

“We want answers from CJHL for the next steps,” Figsby said. We do not want a league or a federation to make such a decision for others without consultation. 

“I have a memorandum of understanding with the QMJHL, but not all leagues are in the same situation. We have players affiliated with this circuit. What do I tell my players? Friday, you're wearing a full protector, but two days later, you're going to wear a half visor in the QMJHL?

“We have to have discussions with our 13 teams. I am not convinced that a vote would support this settlement around our table.”

Currently, there are two Junior A leagues in Canada in which players wear full face shields. They are in Ontario.

“Before, I was against the complete protector, mentioned the head coach of the Terrebonne Cobras, Robert Dubuc. Today is different. When we play against Ontario, they all have them. 

“Before, we said that the guys were scared and that they were hiding behind a “full face”. It's not the same thing in 2022. They're just more afraid of accidents.”

Teams not ready

Logistically, a such a change is almost impossible to achieve in the timeframe desired by Hockey Canada.

The LHJAAAQ would have to order nearly 300 full face shields in a few weeks. 

“We would have struggling to get that order, Figsby confirmed. For the moment, we have a hard time finding sticks every week. My teams are having difficulty receiving the equipment ordered last May.”