Parliamentary commission: the immobility of the QMJHL denounced

Parliamentary commission: the immobility of the QMJHL denounced


The general manager of Sport'Aide, Sylvain Croteau, came very close to leaving his role as consultant to the QMJHL a month ago, in the face of the immobility of the Quebec junior circuit. 

Croteau made this revelation today, on the occasion of his visit to the Culture and Education Committee of the Assembly, which tries to see clearly on the abuses suffered in sport, while specifying to the < em>Journal that his remarks were not aimed at former commissioner Gilles Courteau but at the entire organization.

“I felt the QMJHL wanted to, but I needed of a real will to continue, told the member of the independent committee within the program for the players. I wanted there to be concrete actions soon and I denounced the inaction of the whole circuit. »

The QMJHL has confirmed that a locker room code will be introduced in the fall, but could not confirm that it will be ready for the start of the next season. 

“It's not a magic recipe, illustrated the CEO of Sport'Aide. You don't build a house with just a hammer. It is a set of measures and education that will change the culture and the participation of all stakeholders is necessary. This is an opportunity that should be taken advantage of. »

An independent committee

The QMJHL has also changed its mind by entrusting an independent committee with future complaints from players instead of dealing with them internally. “I don't doubt the professionalism of the lady whose role it was, but you have to put yourself in the shoes of a victim for three minutes,” said Croteau, who liked the first comments of the new commissioner Mario Cecchini, who will enter in office at the beginning of May. The victim had to contact an employee paid by the league. He felt the fear of not being believed, of reprisals. There was a need for an independent committee so that the victims could file their complaints with peace of mind. » 

No abolition

While he loudly denounces abusive initiations, Croteau believes that the abolition of initiations in the QMJHL or in any other sport is not desirable.

“It would be the worst mistake to abolish initiations,” he said. In an emergency situation and in front of the collective awakening, we would like everything to change in a snap of the fingers, but it is not realistic. It's too rooted in the culture and we need long-term work. There is positive in the initiations when it is well done and well framed. »

“It would be tempting to bet on zero tolerance, to sue the CEO of the organization that was born in 2017, but that would be a way to put your head in the sand and get rid of the problem. By opting for zero tolerance, one would not differentiate between the good initiations which promote development and the hazing events which are the bad ones. » 

A player intimidated by his teammates

Sylvain Croteau shared the secrets of a 50-year-old former hockey player who recently confided in the organization 36 years after the deplorable incidents he experienced, obtaining the assurance that his identity would not be revealed. 

His comments can be found in the brief that the organization filed today with the National Assembly's Committee on Culture and Education.

“I played several sports, but hockey was the one in which I excelled and in which my parents invested a lot. It has long been known and recognized that sport and violence are (unfortunately) intimately linked. But the most destructive and traumatic violence is that which I have suffered, not from a coach or an opponent, but from my own teammates. »

The victim continues in the same vein. “Finally, I understand today that this nightmarish season is one of the reasons why I subsequently refused all the invitations received for the QMJHL team selection camps. There was no question of reliving this harassment, this humiliation and this fear already experienced. »

Sport'Aide has highlighted statistics from various studies to show that locker room omerta is deeply rooted.

A national study in the United States cited in the document mentions that 80 percent of collegiate athletes in all sports had suffered abusive behavior during initiations, but denunciations only reach 12%.

The fear of rejection and that of being perceived as a weak person, a party breaker or a traitor explain this state of affairs, can we read in the Sport'Aide memoir, which specifies that abuse is not the prerogative hockey or the QMJHL, but of all sports.

“It is only after leaving their sports environment that athletes realize what they have been through, the impact it has had on them , and that some will then find the strength to break the silence.

The President of the Saguenéens

Richard Létourneau also testified before the Committee on Culture and Education today. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the QMJHL and the Saguenéens went on the attack from the start of his presentation. 

“I sometimes have different perspectives from those heard at the Commission since its inception, he underlined. We offer a net for the supervision of our players who arrive with us at 16 with stars in their eyes and who leave at 20 as an asset for society. Not everything is perfect and we are constantly evolving. We have come a long way and there is still more to do. »