Montreal Canadiens unveil details of 'Respect and Consent Action Plan' on sexual violence

The Montreal Canadiens announced the details of its "Respect and Consent Action Plan" Wednesday, a strategy meant to educate its staff about consent and sexual violence.

The action plan comes just months after the team drafted defenceman Logan Mailloux, who was found guilty in Sweden of sharing pictures of a consensual sexual encounter with a woman without her permission.

The $1 million action plan is intended for the internal Habs environment as well as "the external and community environment," the team's managers said.

"We want to ensure that our actions will be part of a concerted approach that will bring about positive changes within our company and in the hockey community," said Habs owner and president Geoff Molson.

The details and objectives regarding the Groupe CH Respect and Consent action plan were presented today.https://t.co/ooRihRsR1z

— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) September 15, 2021

The Habs' director of player development Rob Ramage responded to the Mailloux draft and the fact that Mailloux, the Habs' highest draft pick, was not at the team's rookie camp. Ramage said the team is in constant contact with the player and working with him.

"Trust me, he realizes every day what his actions have caused," said Ramage.

"He's not here. He's a hockey player [and] he dreams, as hockey players do, of being at an NHL camp, so that's part of the penance he's paying, and we'll help him get through this."

Vice-president of community engagement Genevieve Paquette said Mailloux will not be speaking publicly until he has gone through the appropriate therapy sessions and is ready. 

"He needs to have completed his journey as a person," she said, adding that she was surprised when Mailloux was drafted.

Mailloux was suspended indefinitely by the OHL in early September for inappropriate conduct by a player.

TSN 690 "She's Got Game" host Robyn Flynn was harsh in her criticism following the Mailloux draft selection and said she's now nonplussed at the Habs' new action plan.

"Honestly, there isn't a whole lot there," she said.

"The announcement today was just more promises of what is to come, without having taken any real concrete steps or action."

Not enough has happened so far, she said.

"The Canadiens are promising that the team and team staff will receive training on respect, consent and sexual cyberviolence," she said. "But no time frame was provided on when this training would take place. Logan Mailloux was drafted almost two months ago. They've had time."

The internal portion of the plan will include the following:

  • Training on respect and consent and sexual cyberviolence with all Groupe CH members.
  • Hiring women in key positions throughout the hockey operations department to add greater perspective.

The external part of the action plan includes:

  • A prevention program in partnership with the Quebec hockey community aimed at young hockey players and their supporters.
  • Financial support for "proven initiatives of recognized organizations that work to prevent, raise awareness, and educate in schools about sexual cyberviolence, and a contribution will be made to an organization that helps victims and their loved ones."

The committee is made up of 11 representatives, including Paquette, Marie-Vincent Foundation sexologist Genevieve Boisvert-Pilon, and others. 

Flynn said the plan was vague and that it doesn't make any "real, measurable commitments that the fans and press can hold them accountable for."

"Externally, the team promises to dedicate time, money and resources to educating fans and kids in youth hockey about the importance of consent and sexual cyberviolence, but once again, remain vague on the details," said Flynn.

"This feels like a PR stunt by the team to get ahead of the news, so that it hopefully doesn't become an issue once the season starts."

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