Former Team Canada captain wants N.S. premier to apologize for cancelling women's hockey championship
HALIFAX -- A Canadian women's hockey icon has fired off a slapshot of blunt criticism at Nova Scotia's premier.
Cassie Campbell-Pascal says the cancellation of the women's world hockey championship was the decision of an inexperienced politician -- and she wants Iain Rankin to apologize to the players.
The criticism from the former Team Canada captain comes one week after the cancellation of the 2021 IIHF Women's World Hockey Championship and Campbell-Pascall suggested Rankin ignored advice from medical experts.
"I also think we need to look at the premier of Nova Scotia," Campbell-Pascall said. "This is a new premier, a fairly inexperienced premier, and he did not use the expertise that was given to him."
She added Rankin still has some explaining to do with the athletes.
"I thought it was some really poor judgment by the premier of Nova Scotia and I think he owes these women an apology," Campbell-Pascall said.
On Thursday, Rankin responded.
"At this time, it doesn't matter the level of hockey or any sport, we are asking for zero activity," Rankin said.
As for suggesting the premier did not listen to expert advice, Dr. Robert Strang, Nova Scotia's chief medical officer of health, says that's simply not the case.
"This individual has no idea of the conversation I've had with the premier," Strang said. "The premier and I were completely on the same page on this."
On social media, some are supportive of what Campbell-Pascall said, but many are scathing in their criticism.
"After speaking with a lot of my teammates, we all feel the same way," Team Canada forward and Nova Scotia native Blayre Turnbull said.
Turnbull fully supports health and safety measures in her home province, but she says the Hockey Canada COVID-19 bubble would have isolated the players coaches and staff.
"I find it hard to understand the cancellation," Turnbull said. "I just don't possibly understand how we could've been at a risk of spreading COVID with the people here in Nova Scotia."
Both Turnbull and Campbell-Pascal say they remain hopeful the women's world hockey championship, which was to be held in Halifax and Truro, will be re-scheduled later in 2021.
Cheryl MacDonald of the Saint Mary's University Centre for the Study of Sport & Health said Campbell-Pascall failed to mention how the Maritimes has dealt with COVID-19 for the past year.
MacDonald said the track record in this region is pretty solid and she thought that should've been highlighted as this issue was discussed.