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City of Montreal |  Minor hockey was briefly banned from arenas

City of Montreal | Minor hockey was briefly banned from arenas

Montreal briefly closed the doors of its arenas to the organization that runs minor hockey in the city at the beginning of May, following allegations that municipal ice had been used for profits.

In an official letter, the city announced on May 8 to Hockey Quebec Region Montreal (HQRM) that it would suspend their agreement, “until the city obtains clarifications to its satisfaction regarding the use” of its ice rinks. Thousands of ice hours are offered at a discount every year at HQRM.

According to Radio-Canada, HQRM youth hockey players had to pay $30 to $40 an hour in cash for development sessions using municipal rinks without a permit. It was allegedly a former general manager named Carl Vaillancourt – since fired – who raised the alarm.

A copy of the city's letter was submitted to the Montreal court because HQRM went to court to regain access to the arenas. The organization argued on May 10 that time is running out: “Selection camps for Montreal's elite AAA hockey teams for the 2024-2025 season are currently underway,” the request for an injunction argued. “The cancellation of AAA selection camps will have an impact on player evaluation and squad formation.”

In particular, the organization said it feared protests from parents whose children were removed after the abortion selection camp.

HQRM finally announced a temporary agreement with Montreal last Monday. The organization said the agreement “under which selection camps for Montreal Élite AAA hockey teams for the 2024-2025 season will continue according to schedule.” The squares of San Michele and Silvio Manza are particularly affected.

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“Sound management of public funds”

However, this agreement does not mark the end of the dispute between the city and Montreal Minor Hockey.

Plante's head of sports, Caroline Bourgeois, declined an interview request Journalism.

“The City of Montreal has the responsibility to ensure the proper management of public funds granted to sports organizations,” his office noted in writing. “Checks are underway and an agreement has been ratified to avoid loss of ice time for young people. »

Yves Bausé, the grand boss of HQRM, didn't grant us an interview either. However, he sent Journalism A copy of the Board of Directors’ approval.

“HQRM maintains its desire to obtain the conclusions and recommendations of an independent investigation relating to the City’s use of ice clocks for summer development camps, as quickly as possible,” the text notes. The city will also conduct its own investigation.

However, in the process, CA announced that it had terminated its contract with the company responsible since last March for an internal investigation. According to the statement, work is progressing very slowly. The lawyer from Norton Rose Fulbright Canada will have to return to work.

“absolute secrecy”

The CA statement ensures that HQRM operates “fully transparently”.

However, internal correspondence made public as part of the injunction application reveals that HQRM insisted at length on confidentiality obligations to the company responsible for the investigation. In particular, confidentiality agreements were required of all employees involved.

“We stress the importance of maintaining the absolute confidentiality of all information collected during this investigation,” HQRM emphasized in a May 8 correspondence. “You have been provided with highly confidential and sensitive information that could be provided within your jurisdiction.”

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HQRM even ordered the investigating firm to limit its communications to one board member “to the exclusion of everyone else”. A replacement is planned, but only “just in case.” [l’]Inability to act [du premier interlocuteur] For a period of not less than 3 days. “We are checking whether this commitment has always been respected and we hope that this is the case,” warns HQRM.