Hockey Canada has undergone a change at its top position within its Board of Directors.
The institution in charge of governing all of hockey across the country has seen Michael Brind’Amour step down from his role as Chair of the Board, with Andrea Skinner taking over, effective immediately.
“As a Board we are listening to Canadians,” Skinner said. “We are working to make meaningful positive changes to the culture of the sport of hockey. I am proud of my lifelong commitment to hockey and am honoured to serve Hockey Canada as Chair of the Board; a Board that includes men and women with a diversity of age and life experiences, and one that represents different ethnic and cultural communities, including Indigenous Canadians, and the LGBT2Q+ community.”
“I sincerely believe the organization is taking positive steps to effect meaningful change from the grassroots to high-performance national team level.”
This news comes at the wake of the multiple ongoing investigations into Hockey Canada’s use of registration fees to support its kitty fund, to which it has paid off various sexual assault survivors over the past 20-some-odd years.
“I have listened carefully and intently to the comments of Canadians about the culture of our sport and our organization, and about our actions and leadership. I understand that the actions we have taken in recent weeks are part of the solution,” outgoing Board Chair, Michael Brind’Amour wrote in a statement.
With local police and RCMP re-opening investigations into the 2003 and 2018 Canadian World Junior Hockey Championship Canadian National Teams, as well as the 2014 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Gatineau Olympiques, change atop the board was deemed necessary.
“My final term ends in November 2022, and I know that there is no need to wait for a new era,” Brind’Amour clarified. “Immediate action is essential to address the important challenges facing our organization and our sport, which our Action Plan works to accomplish. I would not be able to see this renewal through and have therefore announced my resignation to the Board of Directors.
“I am reassured that The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, C.C., has agreed to lead a governance review of our organization that will help us make the changes that are needed. I am confident the recommendations will guide the organization into a future of desired change. I wish the best of success to those who will succeed me.”
Skinner, a practicing lawyer and partner with Aird & Berlis LLP in Toronto, was first elected to the Hockey Canada Board of Directors in November of 2020 and will now assume the role of Brind’Amour through his original expiration date in November.
About Andrea Skinner:
“Andrea is the Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Committee at Aird & Berlis. In that role, she leads the firm’s strategy and initiatives concerning diversity, inclusion and equality. Under Andrea’s leadership, Aird & Berlis was named the Outstanding Canadian Firm of the Year at the 2022 Chambers Diversity & Inclusion: North America Awards.
Andrea is a lifelong athlete, volunteer and leader. She has played at an elite level in several competitive sports. In her youth, she was a nationally ranked competitive swimmer and played soccer for Team Ontario. She graduated from Cornell University, where she was admitted to the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the Red Key Honors Society. At Cornell, she played four years of varsity hockey and was captain during her senior year. She received the Senior Spirit and Cornell Big Red Player of the Year awards, given to the varsity athlete exhibiting extraordinary academic, athletic and community contribution, and athletic achievement, respectively. Andrea’s hockey involvement includes refereeing at the highest levels of women’s hockey in Canada, including the 2014 Esso Cup and 2014 Clarkson Cup, as well as acting as a mentor referee with the Ontario Women’s Hockey Association. She was an assistant coach with the University of Ottawa varsity women’s hockey team while in law school at the University of Ottawa. She graduated Cum Laude from the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.
Prior to joining the Hockey Canada Board of Directors, Andrea devoted significant time and effort to community service initiatives, including serving as a mentor to members of a girls’ minor hockey association, directing a running and reading program for disadvantaged children in Ottawa, and serving as a Board member of Hockey Helps the Homeless.
Andrea was elected to the Hockey Canada Board of Directors in November 2020 as part of the first Board elected under the organization’s updated By-Laws requiring a minimum of two men and two women to be elected to the Board. Andrea was recruited from the public at large by Hockey Canada’s independent nominating committee.
In addition to serving as a member of the volunteer Board of Directors at large, Andrea is currently the Chair of the Hockey Canada Human Resources Standing Committee, and also serves as a member of Hockey Canada’s Risk Management Standing Committee, Audit and Finance Committee, and Reinstatement Committee. She is Board liaison to the Officiating Curriculum Task Team.
Andrea lives in Toronto with her spouse, an emergency medicine physician, and two young children.”