Canadian boxing is in crisis. In a letter sent to the media and to the various federal political authorities, nearly a hundred athletes, coaches and actors from the amateur boxing community demanded the immediate departure of the director of high performance, Daniel Trépanier.
When you look at the document that was signed by 121 people, it lifts the veil on a toxic culture and fear that is present in Boxing Canada. For ten years there has been an omertá and a culture of silence to denounce the existing structure.
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In addition, some boxers of the national team were allegedly victims of physical and psychological abuse. Added to this is the fact that the results of the national team in international competitions have been starving for two decades. Canada’s last Olympic medal dates back to 1996.
Trépanier’s name is not mentioned in this letter, but he is clearly the target of various evils that persist in Boxing Canada. The newspaper conducted his research by surveying various people in the amateur boxing community.
The information collected is worrying. Trépanier’s methods and actions have been questioned for several years. Several troubling situations have been reported to members of the Canadian federation’s board of directors over the years.
However, the Director of High Performance has always been able to provide the necessary evidence to neutralize the complaints. He was able to keep his job.
It is not the first time that Trépanier has been criticized for his management style.
Last October, the president of the board of directors of Boxing Canada, Ryan Savage, was presented with a document that brought together thirty testimonies from athletes and coaches.
This highlighted several events that have taken place within the national team in recent years. Events that have shaken several members of the board of directors.
After this meeting, Trépanier was placed under administrative arrest for a period of three months. There was no independent investigation. It was the leaders of Boxing Canada who did the internal verification of the various accusations.
Trépanier was acquitted after submitting several hundred pages of supporting documents. He was able to return to his duties as a high performance director.
Meanwhile, in the gym, things are far from looking good. In 2017, Brazilian Joao Carlos Soares Gomes de Barros was hired as head coach. At the time, he had been identified as the man behind the revival of Boxing Canada.
On the other hand, the experience was short-lived because Barros was unable to fulfill the administrative tasks required. He was fired.
Last year, a new coach was hired ahead of the Tokyo Games: John Mumba. The Frenchman landed in Montreal just a few months before the team’s departure for Japan.
In Tokyo, Boxing Canada, under the strong recommendation of the Canadian Olympic Committee, expelled Mumba from the Olympic Village for a reason still unknown to this day.
Upon returning to Montreal, Mumba’s case was reassessed. The Frenchman was reinstated in his duties. However, other events occurred and the boxers filed other complaints against him last October.
Mumba was fired. Since his departure, he has not been replaced. Right now, Trépanier wears both hats, but it’s not an ideal situation for developing athletes.
The high-performing manager would find it difficult not to interfere with practices and the work of their coaches. He would have been warned several times.
Going back to the letter, it is mentioned that the high performance director allegedly forced them into unsafe fights in practice.
Some athletes were reportedly forced to don the gloves against boxers competing in different weight classes. A situation reported on several occasions to the Boxing Canada authorities, but the complaints were not accepted.
Furthermore, according to our information, the communication links between the centralization of Boxing Canada and the local clubs are non-existent. They try by all means to retain boxers who have the potential to work for the national team. They do not trust the management created by Daniel Trépanier.
“Once they are in the selection, we can no longer talk to our boxers or accompany them to tournaments,” said a source who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals.
In light of the national team’s performance on the international stage over the past 14 years, the question is on everyone’s lips: why is Trépanier still in office?
According to three sources close to the file, Trépanier would have strong ties to several top officials, including CEO Roy Halpin. He also reportedly has a strong relationship with Own the Podium, which donated $221,000 to Boxing Canada in 2021 despite poor results.
Boxing Canada’s board of directors would have their hands tied on this file. Under Quebec labor law, you would find it hard to justify firing your high-performing manager. The fear of a costly trial would have curbed the ardor of the leaders despite the complaints they accumulate in their emails.