Hockey Canada defends decision to wear Livestrong colours
Published Monday, March 4, 2013 8:46AM EST
Last Updated Monday, March 4, 2013 2:17PM EST
Hockey Canada is defending its decision to dress women's Team Canada members in gold and black Livestrong jerseys for an upcoming game, despite the charity's close association with disgraced cyclist and admitted doper Lance Armstrong.
Last week, members of the Canadian national women's hockey team unveiled the jerseys, which are made by Nike. Instead of featuring the traditional red and white Team Canada colours, the jerseys are black, gold and white, reflecting the Livestrong organization's signature colours.
The Livestrong Foundation was founded by Lance Armstrong, a survivor of testicular cancer and former Tour de France champion who’s since been stripped of his seven wins after admitting he used performance-enhancing drugs throughout his cycling career. Last fall he stepped down as chairman of Livestrong.
In a statement sent to CTV, Hockey Canada said it was "proud" to associate with the organization despite its longtime connection with the now-disgraced athlete.
"Hockey Canada feels strongly that the Livestrong Foundation is a cause worth supporting, regardless of any past association with any individuals. In the case of Lance Armstrong, Nike has assured us that he is no longer a Nike athlete, and is no longer on the board or involved with Livestrong in any way," the statement said.
The jerseys are part of a "Fight With Us" campaign by Livestrong involving corporate partners such as Nike and Sport Chek. Canadians can purchase the jerseys at Sport Chek locations across Canada as a way to "show their support for the national team and take up the fight against cancer," Hockey Canada said on its website.
The Canadian squad will wear the jerseys to kick off a tournament that begins on April 2 in Ottawa with a game against the Americans.
Howard Bloom, publisher of Sports Business News, questioned Hockey Canada's decision to partner with Livestrong given its close association with Armstrong.
"In the last two weeks Lance Armstrong was indicted by the United States Justice Department; on Thursday two more companies sued him ... Livestrong and Lance are married at the hip, now and forever," Bloom told CTV's Canada AM.
He added: "I do believe association with Livestrong in any way, shape or form ... is a mistake."
The Livestrong Foundation has raised nearly $500 million since it was founded 16 years ago as the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Livestrong has invested more than $620,000 in Canadian cancer organizations and programs that work with survivors and disease research.