This past weekend, long-time TSN play-by-play commentator Gord Miller broke his silence on his stance with Hockey Canada, the upcoming summertime World Junior Hockey Championship from this past winter and the state of his usual World Juniors colour commentary partner, Ray Ferraro.
With most of his uncertainty stemming from the ongoing allegations of sexual assault, Hockey Canada’s mishandling of the situation and the scandal/cover up of important details related to past CHL players at Hockey Canada sanctioned events, Miller took some time to share his thoughts as he navigates the current landscape that is his day-to-day calling.
“There are three events scheduled for August: the Hlinka/Gretzky Men’s U18 tournament in Red Deer, the rescheduled World Juniors in Edmonton and the Women’s Worlds in Denmark,” Miller began in his Twitter thread.
“I was scheduled to broadcast both the U18 and World Junior tournaments, and have been asked a lot about what the approach would be in broadcasting these events, given all that has gone on with Hockey Canada in what is a rapidly evolving story with much we still don’t know.
TSN is the host broadcaster for all three tournaments, which means that we are contractually obliged to provide pictures and audio to networks from the other nations, including English language commentary for the IIHF and NHL Network, so we would be broadcasting them either way.
Like many Canadians I have been disturbed by not only the allegations, but also by a lack of transparency on the part of Hockey Canada. These alleged incidents need to be investigated thoroughly and there must be changes in the way they are addressed now and in the future.
I’m proud of the role that TSN has played in reporting this story, especially the exceptional work of @rwesthead and his colleagues in our newsroom. This is important work, and I believe it will lead to fundamental change, not just in hockey, but the way Canadian sport is run.
That said, I do not believe that the players, coaches and staff taking part in the three August events should be punished for events that did not involve them. They have worked hard to get where they are, and they deserve to have their stories told to a national audience.
TSN executives asked if I was comfortable being involved in the coverage of the U18s and the World Juniors, giving me the option to decline. (@rayferrarotsn had previously withdrawn due to family commitments). I have decided to go ahead based on another decision I had to make.
I have long worked with @CDNForceSupport, which supports members of the Canadian Armed Forces and their families. In recent years, the Canadian military has been rocked by incidents of sexual misconduct, including by several senior commanders, some of whom were forced to resign.
I had to decide whether to continue working with Support Our Troops and decided I would, because I support the rank and file, and because I believe there is a commitment to changing the culture within the military. The men and women who give so much each day deserve our support.
I feel the same way about Hockey Canada: along with the players of all ages and skill levels, there are tens of thousands of volunteers across the country who give their time and energy to the sport. Many of them are speaking out and seeking changes to the culture of the sport.
Our broadcasts of the Men’s and Women’s events in August will give those voices and others a national platform to discuss issues in the game, addressing changes that need to be made and how to make them. These aren’t easy conversations, but they need to take place.
And so we will broadcast the three events in August, telling the stories of the players from Canada and other nations, while at the same time asking hard questions and seeking answers. It’s not an easy path forward, but I believe this is the right decision.”