Crisis in Montreal: the City suspends its relations with minor hockey

While the governance of Quebec minor hockey has never been so much in the news, Hockey Québec Région Montréal (HQRM) is going through an unprecedented crisis. So much so that the City of Montreal is suspending its ties with this organization.

Last Wednesday, May 8, the Director of Sports for the City of Montreal, Luc Denis, informed the president of the board of directors of HQRM, Yves Pauzé, thatexecution of the Agreement between the City of Montreal and HQRM (financial contributions, loan ofCity facilities and equipment, annex2), and this, as long as the City nwill not have obtained clarifications to its satisfaction concerning the use of its contributions to HQRM”,”text”:”following the information that has been brought to our attention, the City has taken the decision to suspend, for an indefinite period , the execution of the Agreement between the City of Montreal and HQRM (financial contributions, the loan of installations and equipment from the City, appendix 2), and this, as long as the City has not obtained the clarifications to his satisfaction regarding the use of his contributions to HQRM”}}”>following the information that has been brought to our attention, the City has taken the decision to suspend, for an indefinite period, theexecution of the Agreement between the City of Montreal and HQRM (financial contributions, loan ofinstallations and equipment of the City, appendix 2), and this, as long as the Citywill not have obtained clarifications to its satisfaction regarding the use of its contributions to HQRM.

This extraordinary decision by the City follows allegations of inappropriate use of City contributions both in financial support and in goods and services, including hours of use of municipal arenas.


According to our sources, the HQRM board of directors received a factual report towards the end of February alleging, in particular, that people linked to Hockey Montréal Élite were using for private purposes a significant quantity of ice hours that the City of Montreal rented at a discount to HQRM. These ice hours would have been devoted to development camps for which each participating hockey player had to assume cash only fees ranging between $30 and $40 per hour.

Following these allegations, The HQRM administration was going to mandate an external firm to validate or invalidate allegations ofnon-compliant uses of the City’s contributions”,”text”:”The City of Montreal was informed that the HQRM board of directors was going to mandate an external firm to validate or invalidate allegations of non-compliant uses of the City’s contributions City”}}”>the City of Montreal has been informed that the counciladministration of HQRM was going to mandate an external firm to validate or invalidate allegations ofnon-compliant uses of City contributionswrites the Director of Sports for the City of Montreal.

On March 19, HQRM effectively entrusted a law firm specializing in investigation, the firm Lex Facto, with the mandate to shed light on this matter. According to the City, ‘a final report on the 30april2024 to the HQRM board of directors”,”text”:”this mandate provided for the submission of a final report on April 30, 2024 to the HQRM board of directors”}}”>this mandate provided for the deposit ofa final report on April 30, 2024 to the HQRM board of directors.

However, this report has not yet been submitted by Lex Facto.

The president of the HQRM board of directors, Yves Pauzé, is an old hand in the administration of Montreal minor hockey. In office for several decades, he says he is stunned by the reaction of the City of Montreal.

000$, and this amount was reimbursed to HQRM. It was reimbursed with a certain delay and I do not necessarily agree with the way in which this file was handled, but there was a reimbursement.”,”text”:”We are talking about ice hours ‘a value of $17,000, and this amount was reimbursed to HQRM. It was reimbursed with some delay and I don’t necessarily agree with the way this matter was handled, but there was a reimbursement.”}}”>We are talking about ice hours worth $17,000, and this amount was reimbursed to HQRM. It was reimbursed somewhat late and I don’t necessarily agree with the way this matter was handled, but there was a reimbursement.

We use a bazooka to kill a fly. We penalize young people and paralyze the spring evaluation camps for a problem that could easily have been resolved otherwise.believes Mr. Pauzé.

According to the latter, HQRM sent a formal notice to the City of Montreal last Friday. And HQRM will go to court on Monday to obtain an injunction ensuring that the ongoing evaluation camps are not interrupted and that young people do not bear the brunt of the situation.

Stopping our activities and threatening us like this, I find that this is a huge way of proceeding on the part of the Cityadds Mr. Pauzé.

In addition to these legal costs, the cost of the firm responsible for the investigation into the use of ice would be around $30,000, according to Mr. Pauzé.


Another worrying fact: on April 24, the minor hockey associations overseen by HQRM learned in a terse email that the general director of HQHM, Carl Vaillancourt, had been dismissed from his position with immediate effect. Mr. Vaillancourt had only been in office for eight months.

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Carl Vaillancourt’s mandate at Hockey Québec Région Montréal lasted only eight months.

Photo: Sportcom

However, according to several Montreal minor hockey stakeholders, it was Mr. Vaillancourt who sounded the alarm at the end of February about the alleged inappropriate use of contributions from the City of Montreal by individuals linked to Hockey Montreal. Elite. His relationship with the board of directors reportedly deteriorated from that point on. His dismissal caused consternation within several minor hockey associations.

The one who put the most shit into this file is our former CEO. He went so far as to claim that one of my colleagues and I had failed in our duties as administrators. I was the signatory of the agreement binding HQRM and the City. But it’s been two or three years since I stopped worrying about the distribution of ice hours.maintains Mr. Pauzé.

In the press release announcing the hiring of Mr. Vaillancourt in August 2023, the chairman of the board of HQRM, Mr. Pauzé, was nevertheless delighted that his organization was giving free rein to offer a real wind of change in the management of minor hockey on the island of Montreal.

HQRM had benefited from the expertise of the Regroupement Loisir et Sport Québec to carry out the search process for the ideal candidate to occupy the position of general director.

It was not possible to speak to Carl Vaillancourt to find out the precise circumstances of his dismissal.


Regardless, the City of Montreal seems to have decided that the time for truth and transparency has come.

11), the City of Montreal considers that it is your responsibility to present the facts of theinquiry to your members at the next general meeting. We ask you toinclude this item on the agenda of this general meeting. To this end, we will contact you soon, in particular to inform you of the verification measures that we intend to put in place”,”text”:”With a view to good governance (art.11), the City of Montreal considers that it It is your responsibility to present the facts of the investigation to your members at the next general meeting. We ask you to include this item on the agenda of this general meeting. To this end, we will contact you soon, in particular to inform you of the verification measures that we intend to put in place”}}”>From a perspective of good governance (art. 11), the City of Montreal considers that it is your responsibility to present the facts of theinquiry to your members at the next general meeting. We ask you toinclude this item on the agenda of this general meeting. To this end, we will contact you soon, in particular to inform you of the verification measures that we intend to put in place.writes the Director of Sports, Luc Denis.

The latter also recalls that the General Controller of the City has the power to demand at any time the books and accounting records of HQRM. The City also requests administration and general meetings, until further notice”,”text”:”that a representative of the City of Montreal is invited to all meetings of the board of directors and general meetings, and this, until further notice”}}”>that a representative of the City of Montreal be invited to all meetings of the city counciladministration and general meetings, until further notice.

Yves Pauzé affirms that HQRM’s accounting books have always been well kept. But I’m not saying that we won’t take action, when the time really comes, to appoint someone from outside to monitor the finances of Hockey Montréal Élite.he said.

We requested an interview with Luc Denis last Friday. However, the City of Montreal’s Communications Department said it was unable to contact him.


This new affair comes on the heels of the resignation of the general director of Hockey Quebec, Jocelyn Thibault, at the end of last February.

Thibault, who had made sound governance his hobby horse, deplored the difficulty of leading the regions in this direction when he explained his decision to representatives of the press.

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Jocelyn Thibault

Photo: Radio-Canada

In addition to deploring the lack of accountability within the structure, Thibault emphasized that the provincial office did not have the necessary powers to ensure effective leadership of hockey in Quebec.

‘business [en ce moment]you really havefeeling like you’re in a minefield. Hethere is no predictability. As manager of our organization,was a risk I was no longer able to take. For these reasons, it was better to retire”,”text”:”As a business manager [en ce moment], you really feel like you’re in a minefield. There is no predictability. As manager of our organization, it was a risk that I was no longer capable of taking. For these reasons, it was better to withdraw”}}”>As leader ofbusiness [en ce moment]you really havefeeling like you’re in a minefield. Hethere is no predictability. As manager of our organization,was a risk I was no longer able to take. For these reasons, it was better to withdrawhe explained.

In short, Thibault was fed up with constantly being called upon to put out fires for which he was not responsible and which sound governance could easily have prevented.

It is therefore Thibault’s successor, Stéphane Auger, who will have to assume the role of firefighter regarding the crisis hitting HQRM.

Hockey Quebec leaders were made aware of the worrying letter from the City of Montreal last Thursday, the day after it was sent. Since that time, the provincial office has monopolized all its resources to remedy the situation.

It would not be surprising if a decision to this effect were announced at the start of the week.

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