Q&A with minister of sport Pascale St-Onge: ‘I feel a responsibility to change things’
In a sitdown interview with Sportsnet’s Iain MacIntyre, minister of sport Pascale St-Onge discussed her thoughts on what Hockey Canada needs to change, what she plans on doing to make sports federations more accountable and what’s next. Here is the edited transcript of that conversation. Sportsnet: Minister of Sport Pascale St-Onge, thank you for joining us today and giving us some of your very valuable time. What have the last few months been like for you, as a new cabinet minister dealing with a crisis in sports in Canada? St-Onge: Well, one of the reasons why I got involved in politics is to be an agent of change.
Imagine you're an All-American collegiate hockey player. It's your 25th birthday, you feel fit and healthy, and life seems full of possibilities. But then you're blindsided by a catastrophic medical diagnosis. You have cancer.
That was the mind-numbing reality for Luke Davison, who was just about to begin his senior season at St Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin.
"It was a five-minute phone call," Davison told WBAY-TV. "Basically told me I had cancer, and I had to go get a scan to see how bad it is."
From NFL plays to college sports scores, all the top sports news you need to know every day.
Flames re-sign Andrew Mangiapane to three-year, $17.4M deal
Mangiapane brings durability and stability to the Flames lineup.By signing Mangiapane, Calgary is effectively buying out two years of unrestricted free agency, as the 26-year-old was set to hit the open market next summer. After having star forward Johnny Gaudreau leave via free agency and Matthew Tkachuk announce that he would not re-sign in Calgary after next season, forcing a trade, having some certainty with one of their other key forwards and goal scorers is surely a relief for the Flames. Although the signing leaves them with very little cap space, it completes all pending arbitration cases, meaning their offseason work is likely complete.
The scan revealed he had Stage 3 advanced Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and Davison was told he faced several rounds of chemotherapy.
"You go from the highs of the highs in the sports world and in life to the lows of the lows," St. Norbet's Head Coach, Tim Coghlin, told Green Bay's The Press Times. "We were devastated when it came out it was cancer, and this was a thing he was going to have to battle."
Davison was scheduled to have a port put into his chest for chemotherapy at Aurora Baycare Medical Hospital in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A GoFundMe was on its way to exceeding $30,000, and of course, he had the sympathy and support of friends and family. Nevertheless, the walk up to the hospital on a grey and windy morning was daunting. But he wasn't alone.
Hockey Canada at committee: MPs push for answers amid sexual assault allegations
"Hockey Canada has an opportunity to be fully transparent and fully accountable," said NDP MP Peter Julian told Global News. "This is really their last chance."The House of Commons heritage committee is meeting on Tuesday at 10 a.m. ET and Wednesday at 11 a.m. ET this week. Global News will carry both meetings live.
Watch the video above to see Luke receive an incredible display of love and support from his family, friends, and teammates.
At the hospital entrance, Luke was treated to an unforgettable welcome from his entire hockey squad, plus coaches, friends, supporters, family, and even the team mascot. Banners and signs bore heartfelt messages, while fist bumps and embraces filled his heart with the spirit of the locker room.
The touching gesture was organized by Luke's friend and teammate Tim Nicksic, who reached out to Davison's fiancé for details of his first appointment.
"Everyone was on board, and I didn't know how it was going to go," Nicksic said. "We got there, and we got the Norby Knight costume, the coaches came, and we're all dressed up in our St. Norbert hockey outfits.
The surprise went even better than planned and had a profound effect on Luke.
"I was so happy to show up for the hospital because I saw like all my teammates there, coaches. And it was just like, alright this is no big deal. I got everybody behind me," Davison said.
Hockey Canada trying to ‘salvage’ World Juniors amid scandal, low ticket sales
The World Juniors are run by the International Ice Hockey Federation, which confirmed last week it is now among the growing number of official bodies investigating Hockey Canada.The tournament got underway on Tuesday in Edmonton, Alta., with thousands of tickets still available. It was postponed late last year as a result of the Omicron variant surge.
And the outpouring of support didn't stop when Luke entered the hospital as his hockey squad continued to rally around him for the duration of his chemotherapy, even shaving their heads to make him feel better after his own hair began falling out due to the chemo.
"My teammates were the biggest factor in keeping me sane and spreading positivity the best they could," Luke said. "They were incredible throughout the process."
The display of camaraderie and team spirit filled Luke's coach with pride. "The troops rallied hard around him," said Tim Coghlin. "Everybody was in his corner. Our group was tremendous from start to finish."
And the team's gesture did not go unnoticed, as the video of their welcome committee grabbed attention all over the tight-knit hockey world. Buffalo Sabres Head Coach, Don Granato, was among the first to make contact, and even had a jersey made to hang in the locker room bearing Davison's No. 28.
Meanwhile, all-time great, Mario Lemiuex, who had two bouts of Hodgkin's Lymphoma during his NHL career, sent a letter of support, a signed hockey puck, and a tee-shirt from the Mario Lemieux Foundation. "I can't imagine people going through this alone because I've gotten so much support, and it's still hard," Davison said.
"It was amazing to see the amount of support in the hockey community," said Coach Coghlin. "Lots of prayers and lots of faith; that's how you get through it."
The treatment was grueling, though Luke did his best to keep up with his studies, working with his professors to finish his classes at St. Norbert to earn his degree.
Finally, after six months of chemo, the story had a happy ending when Luke learned he was cancer-free
"It's a new chance at life," he told The Press Times. “It's helped me learn not to take things for granted and show the people in my life you love them and how much they mean to you."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: College hockey players become cheerleaders and brothers to their teammate battling cancer
Hockey Canada made nine settlements totalling $7.6M from reserve fund: CFO .
Hockey Canada was called before the committee after two high-profile allegations of group sexual assault emerged, leading to calls for a reckoning and resignations."Out of the National Equity Fund, nine settlement payments have been made totalling $7.6 million," confirmed Brian Cairo, speaking at a heritage committee meeting on Wednesday.