Hockey New Brunswick has announced steps it says will address challenges facing the game.
This comes as a national discussion is taking place about the way the national organization Hockey Canada has dealt with sexual misconduct allegations.
The provincial group says it have hired subject matter experts in the fields of equity, diversity and inclusion, sexual violence and investigations.
Hockey New Brunswick executive director Nic Jansen says the goal is to make the game more inclusive.
"To make it fun, to get rid of some of these cultural challenges that we are faced with," said Jansen.
"Hockey New Brunswick has approximately 14,000 minor hockey participants, and our ultimate goal is to provide a positive experience for these 14,000 participants."
Normand Hector, a Black drag queen who performed during a Memorial Cup game in Saint John last summer, will lead equity, diversity, and inclusion workshops for Hockey New Brunswick.
"Norman did a number of presentations last year during the Memorial Cup in Saint John. The feedback was outstanding," said Jansen.
Sexual Violence New Brunswick and White Ribbon Fredericton will be retained as experts on sexual violence.
Finally, Infopowered Solutions Inc., an HR management firm, will work with University of New Brunswick law students to form a third-party that will handle investigations for Hockey New Brunswick.
Jansen said the number of allegations of discrimination were eye-opening for the organization and difficult for them to investigate.
"We didn't expect to get the number of incidents that we did," said Jansen.
"In total we got 29 allegations, 15 of which resulted in suspensions and it was a significant challenge for our organization to investigate these 29 allegations."
Hockey Canada relationship
Hockey Canada has been undergoing months of turmoil over it's handling of sexual misconduct allegations.
Jansen said, while Hockey New Brunswick decided to suspend payment of fees to Hockey Canada, the idea that other provinces had cut ties with the national body were "misunderstood."
He also pushed back against the idea that these reforms were brought about because of the controversy at Hockey Canada.
"I think that some of these changes weren't a result of the Hockey Canada scandal," said Jansen.
"I think the equity, diversity, inclusion, I think the investigations are both items that we were working on since last hockey season."
Hockey New Brunswick says it will also implement several inclusion programs, including para and neurodiverse youth.