Hockey Canada’s Winter Congress and Annual Meeting, held virtually for the first time due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, wrapped up Saturday with the election of the Hockey Canada Board of Directors.
The elections proved to be a significant step forward as Hockey Canada continues to address areas of diversity and inclusion throughout the organization. An important by-law change approved at the 2019 Annual Meeting requires the Board to include a minimum of two males and two females to better reflect Canadian society.
Michael Brind’Amour (Saint-Alphonse-Rodriguez, Que.), returns as chair of the board for a second-consecutive term. Brind’Amour practiced law for more than 40 years, specializing in civil, family youth protection, criminal and administrative social law. He has held various positions in hockey working with local, regional and provincial organizations in Quebec including director, president and chair as well as president of Hockey Quebec. Prior to being elected as chair of the board, Brind’Amour served on various committees including governance, risk management and was a liaison to minor council. He has also served on numerous boards as either director or chair in the areas of education, social services and human rights. His community work also extends to many not-for-profit organizations in their pursuit of more efficient program delivery and governance.
“It is my honour and a great privilege to be able to lead the Hockey Canada Board of Directors for another two years,” said Brind’Amour. “Those who serve on our board of directors come from various backgrounds and experiences, and they all have one thing in common. They are passionate about our great sport and are committed to growing the game.”
Five directors have been elected to serve on the board for the very first time and will serve two-year terms:
Terry Engen has served the hockey community for over 40 years in administrative positions, including roles with Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada. A business owner for more than 20 years, his diverse background extends from politics to housing for seniors. Engen is Councillor and Reeve of Lacombe Country, chair of the Lacombe Foundation (seniors facilities), chair of Eckville Arena and a board member of the Energy Conservation Board.
Bobby Sahni is a leader in the multicultural marketing business community. With a Masters of Business, Sahni has been at the forefront in developing, executing and managing diversity and multicultural initiatives for a number of organizations. He is a co-founder and partner at Ethnicity Matters, a multicultural marketing and advertising agency. Bobby has earned several national and international awards for his work and thought leadership and continues to guest lecture and speak at industry events and conferences across North America. Sahni also serves on several non-profit boards and advisory committees.
Andrea Skinner grew up around the game of hockey and is passionate about the sport. She is a former captain of the Cornell University women’s hockey team and achieved notable academic recognition while studying at Cornell. Skinner’s hockey involvement includes refereeing at the highest levels in Canada and serving as an assistant coach with the University of Ottawa’s women’s hockey team. Skinner is currently a partner at Aird & Berlis LLP, a Toronto-based law firm, where she regularly appears before tribunals and courts. She also serves as chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Leanne Standryk has over 20 years of legal experience and is a senior partner with Lancaster, Brooks & Welch LLP, specializing in management side labour, and employment and sports law. Standryk acts for numerous private, public and not-for-profit sector clients, including national and provincial sport organizations, where she is called to serve as an advocate before the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC.) She has also acted as a mediator and arbitrator in sports-related disputes. Standryk is a recipient of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 Business Leadership Award, and is an active community volunteer with a number of organizations, including the YMCA. Leanne is also a Trustee Emeritus of Brock University.
Mary Anne Veroba has spent more than 30 years around the game of hockey, largely in administrative roles, and it is her passion that keeps her involved in the game. Her involvement began with local teams in Lampman, Sask., which led to her being elected president of her Local Hockey Association. She served on the Saskatchewan Hockey Association’s board of directors for over 20 years, including the last seven as chair of the board. When she was not around the rink, Veroba continued to serve her community as a registered nurse for 38 years. Now retired, she has a new career writing children’s books and creating a pottery studio.
Three members of the board have also been re-elected to serve two-year terms:
Kirk Lamb was first elected to the Board of Directors in 2018. He has been responsible for oversight of policy development and is a member of the audit and finance committee. Lamb was chairman and president of the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) from 2010-2017, and also served as special advisor and legal counsel for the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) from 2002-2010. Lamb has degrees in both economics and law, spending 13 years practicing business, corporate and sports law. Since 2007, he has been a partner with Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLC, practicing in areas of commercial, mergers and acquisitions, sports and recreation, as well as tax law.
Barry Reynard has been active in hockey for the past four decades, coaching and chairing several task teams and committees in both male and female development. Reynard has over 20 years of board experience, which includes the former Hockey Development Committee. He retired as director of sport and special events with Tourism Dawson Creek after spending 12 years with the city as Director of Community Services. Overall, he spent over 30 years in Municipal and Provincial government.
Goops Wooldridge has been involved in hockey for almost 50 years. Wooldridge is a former president of Hockey PEI, where he assisted in the implementation of a new governance model. A director with Hockey Canada since 2015, he has served on numerous committees, task teams and work groups. He was recognized as Volunteer of the Year in the community for his work in hockey at the local and national levels in 2017.
“We issued ourselves a directive to be more inclusive and this is an important step in that process,” said Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada. “Our entire organization is excited to welcome Andrea, Leanne, Mary Anne, Terry and Bobby to our board, joining Michael, Barry, Goops and Kirk as we continue the mandate that our organization and board members, past and present, have been working towards.”
Hockey Canada and its members extend their appreciation to the outgoing board members – Al Hubbs (Indian Head, Sask.), Réal Langlais (Delson, Que.), Randy Pulsifer (Stillwater Lake, N.S.), Ed Pupich (Schumacher, Ont.) and Randy Henderson (Prince George, B.C.) – for their ongoing dedication and contributions to the game. In particular, the organization values their leadership in helping create a more inclusive and diverse board.
Hockey Canada’s Winter Congress and Annual Meeting brought together the governing body’s board of directors and partners, along with representation from all 13 Members.
Hockey Canada’s next Winter Congress and Annual Meeting will be held Nov. 18-20, 2021 in Toronto.