Boxing Canada | “We needed renewal”

Boxing Canada can now “look to the future,” says Yvon Michel.

Updated at 2:42 PM yesterday.

Jean-François Teotonio

Jean-François Teotonio
The press

The news fell on Sunday afternoon. Daniel Trépanier, director of high performance at Boxing Canada, has resigned. In particular, a shower of testimony, starting with a letter signed by more than 120 people published last Wednesday, accused him of creating a “toxic climate” in the federation.

Reached by phone on Monday morning, Yvon Michel, who serves as General Administrator on Boxing Canada’s board of directors, said Trépanier’s resignation has been accepted because we “believe that he has made the right decision”.

“Daniel made a decision based on him personally,” the promoter underlines. And, I think, for the sake of Canadian boxing. He realized he was no longer the man for the job.

“We had important testimonials coming from all over,” Michel adds. […] We needed renewal. There is a lot of excitement around it. †

In particular, Trépanier was accused of harassment, favoritism, sexism, injustice, security and transparency in events that have taken place since 2008. Kim Clavel’s trainer, Danielle Bouchard, even spoke of “a little incompetence” last Friday.

Also reached Monday, Bouchard speaks of a “form of victory for the sport” and of “sighs of relief”.

“It’s big,” she adds over the phone. It’s really big. When it happened and the news came out, it was hard to believe.

“It’s a happy time. A moment when you tell yourself that in the end, all the effort we’ve put in, all the work we’ve done in all these years to change things […] let’s hope for a better world in boxing. †


PHOTOGRAPH OLIVIER PONTBRIAND, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Danielle Bouchard (right), trainer of boxer Kim Clavel

“Discomfort”

Michel took his place on Boxing Canada’s board in 2019.

“I had already heard about the discomfort that many people had towards Daniel, in discussions I had left and right, he admits. But I would say the whole board really realized from last summer that something big was going on. †

He refers to the gestures made by Boxing Canada since then. A statement from the federation published on May 4 – in response to the letter – mentioned the creation of an advisory group to “ensure transparency in high-performance decisions”. There was also talk of “separating the role of high performance director from coaching responsibilities”, one of the main complaints against Trépanier.

Bouchard felt that in spite of everything “no change had occurred”.

“Even though it didn’t seem so obvious, we had taken steps to try and correct the situation, defends Michel. Concrete measures to ensure the protection of athletes and their supervision.

“But let’s just say we went much further with what happened at the end of the week. †

“We are ready to roll up our sleeves”

The press attempted to reach Boxing Canada president Ryan Savage by phone. His response came by email.

He refers to the measures announced in the press release published on Sunday and indicates that the “process to work in conjunction with [ses] provincial partners” has begun.

“Our priority and focus is on improving Boxing Canada’s governance model and transparency,” writes Ryan Savage. We also want to ensure the safety of our athletes and coaches so that they can thrive in a healthy and inclusive environment. †

If the investigation is clearly still in its infancy, there is already a target in Michel’s lens.

We have a big challenge. Paris 2024 is not that far away.

Yvon Michel

“We need to mobilize Canadian expertise on a large scale so that we can replace the director of the high performance program in the short term. Have skilled, certified coaches who can take and restore the confidence of the entire national team to get the best possible result. †

The promoter believes Canada “has everything it takes” to help the federation regain its luster.

“We often talk about hiring people from outside to settle them here and lead our team,” he explains. We did it twice and it didn’t work. Very often you end up with someone who arrives with a different culture and perception. †

“We have a group of very talented young coaches who are just asking for luck,” summarizes Michel, who prefers local and national circuits to relaunch the program.

We ask Bouchard if she has any names in mind to replace Trépanier. A priori, the trainer explains, “there was no favorite name we saw there”.

“When we were in the hanger, we didn’t think about who could take the place. †

But she ended up naming two candidates: Ariane Fortin and Mandy Bujold.


PHOTOGRAPH EDOUARD PLANTE-FRÉCHETTE, LA PRESSE ARCHIVES

Ariane Fortin

“These are former athletes who take the sport to heart and who were part of the process [pour faire bouger les choses]† There are others too.

“One thing is certain: it takes dedicated people, people who have the athletes in their hearts. What will be the main goal. †

She also points out the need for “good communication with the provinces, with the coaches, everyone’s involvement, so that everyone is rowing in the same direction,” adds Danielle Bouchard.

On Michel’s part, we judge that Trépanier’s departure is “already in the past”.

“We’re looking forward to it,” he says. We have a lot of work to do and are ready to roll up our sleeves. †

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