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Hockey Canada hires Irfan Chaudhry as first VP, diversity and inclusion

Irfan Chaudhry has been hired as Hockey Canada’s first vice-president, diversity and inclusion, the organization announced on Friday.

Chaudhry will begin his role on April 12.

“It is an honour to join the team at Hockey Canada,” Chaudhry said in a Hockey Canada media release. “This is an exciting time of transformation for the sport, and I am looking forward to continue the foundational work of the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Group, and build a true culture of inclusion within Hockey Canada as well as the broader hockey ecosystem throughout the country.”

Chaudhry most recently was MacEwan University’s director of the office of human rights, diversity and equity. Chaudhry also is a volunteer board member for the Edmonton Police Commission, takes part in Public Safety Canada’s expert committee on countering radicalization to violence, sits on the Alberta Hate Crimes Committee and is an advisor to the Canadian Council of Muslim Women.

“Having Irfan join Hockey Canada is a significant addition to our organization, and we are excited to have him lead the development of a vision and strategy to create and sustain a culture within hockey that embraces and promotes equity, diversity and inclusion,” Denise Pattyn, Hockey Canada’s senior vice-president of people, culture and inclusion said in the same statement. “His accomplishments and wealth of knowledge and experience in higher education and sport will be incredibly valuable to Hockey Canada, and we look forward to welcoming him in April.”

Based in Edmonton, Chaudhry joins Hockey Canada’s senior leadership team.

Hockey Canada leadership came under scrutiny when it was learned that a settlement was paid out to a woman in London, Ont., who alleged that she was sexually assaulted by eight hockey players, including members of the 2018 Canadian world junior team, after a Hockey Canada Foundation event.

The victim’s allegations and the settlement sparked national outrage and months of controversy as more details of the incident came out. During the ensuing government and media investigations, it was learned that Hockey Canada’s National Equity Fund, which was partially funded by children’s registration fees, had been the source of the legal settlement.

Hockey Canada also announced in July that members of its 2003 world junior hockey championship team were being investigated for a group sexual assault. Hockey Canada said it contacted Halifax Regional Police about the allegations because Halifax was the co-host city of the 2003 world junior hockey championship.

Police investigations into the 2003 and 2018 allegations are ongoing. Neither case has been proven in court.

After months of public outcry, Hockey Canada’s board of directors resigned on Oct. 11 and president and CEO Scott Smith was ousted from his role. A new board of directors was elected on Dec. 17, including new board chair Hugh L. Fraser.


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