Following multiple allegations of sexual violence within Hockey Canada, the organization has reached out to the Sexual Assault Centre of Waterloo Region (SASCWR) for support.
In a statement, SASCWR wrote that Hockey Canada contacted their public education team for specialized training for athletes, team staff, and Hockey Canada staff in Calgary over the summer.
SASCWR and Calgary Communities Against Sexual Abuse will work together to provide the instruction.
"Together our two organizations are in the process of delivering training to different cohorts, covering topics such as healthy masculinity, consent, the continuum of harm, and bystander intervention through interactive activities and discussions," the statement from SASCWR read.
The training is meant to address root problems in sports culture such as dialogue that normalizes aggression, and the degradation of women used as a bonding tool for male athletes.
"These problems culminate in what is termed rape culture," the statement read. "It is a fact that the harm caused by rape culture in sports organizations and our broader communities predominately impacts women, girls, and gender-diverse people.
SASCWR has a long history of working with athletes, beginning in 2008 with their Male Allies Program. They also helped to create curriculum for the Ontario Hockey League to train their players.
Jacob Pries is the project facilitator for the Male Allies Program at SASCWR. Pries recently spent time working with the Kitchener Rangers and said the athletes responded well to the discussions.
"We had some really great conversations," said Pries. "People want to make sure they are able to respond, and call people out, when this behaviour happens."
Pries says the biggest challenge organizations like SASCWR face is the lack of support, and funding.
"The best way to move forward to address sexual violence is to have the sports organizations, government and corporations recognize the expertise of community based sexual assault centres," Pries said. "And, fund them so that we can be providing that training to our local athletes and local athletic organizations."
If you are a survivor of sexual violence in Waterloo Region, call 519-741-8633 to access the support centre's 24-hour support line.