After 37 years, Gilles Courteau has resigned his position as head of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, effective immediately.
The QMJHL and Courteau in particular are in the midst of a controversy surrounding hazing and bullying in the league, past and present.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead this league,” said Courteau’s statement.
His resignation comes just three days after Quebec sport minister Isabelle Charet said the Quebec government would recall Courteau to testify further about allegations of hazing and abusive initiations in the QMJHL.
During Courteau’s tenure as president, the league has grown from 10 teams to 18. Including advocating for teams to provide assistance and education to their players, Courteau also made English the language of instruction, slowly moving the league away from its French-language past.
The 65-year-old Courteau previously worked for the Trois-Rivieres Draveurs, Quebec Remparts, and the Quebec Nordiques. In 2016, he was inducted into the Quebec Hockey Hall of Fame.
According to General Manager of Hockey Sherbrooke, Stéphane Dion, the resignation won’t have much of an impact on Hockey Sherbrooke. However, he highlighted the importance of changing the culture for better days ahead.
“The QMJHL is probably the most important hockey league in Quebec. But with these allegations, it’s important to change the existing culture and ensure these types of things never happen again,” said General Manager of Hockey Sherbrooke, Stéphane Dion.