On Tuesday morning, former Canucks analyst Rachel Doerrie made an appearance on Donnie & Dhali – The Team after filing a human rights complaint against the Canucks and AGM Emilie Castonguay last week. In the 15-minute interview, Doerrie touched on everything surrounding the complaint and her sudden dismissal from the Canucks before the start of the season.
Doerrie, 26, had made her decision public on Sunday through Twitter, with a Dropbox link to the official document filed last week by her lawyer, Peter Gall.
When asked why she chose to make it public, Doerrie told Don Taylor and Rick Dhaliwal that she wanted to get in front of the story that would undoubtedly come with it.
“Honestly, I didn’t really have a choice. I was told that if I filed a human rights complaint, that it’s a matter of public record. And therefore it was not going to be able to be sealed, and it would be findable, so that I might as well just come out and face it head-on as opposed to filing it and trying to hide from it,” Doerrie said.
“And the other thing is, I don’t think that you’re gonna get anywhere in terms of hockey culture if we continue to try and hide things. We’ve seen that it obviously doesn’t work, so for me, this is about some public accountability, quite frankly. And I just thought that I shouldn’t have to be the one that that bears all of this by myself.”
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Doerrie was first hired by the Canucks in January as an analyst, before being promoted to Analyst and Assistant to Video Coach Dylan Crawford in August. In the complaint, Doerrie alleges that after she publicly promoted a Province article featuring quotes about her from head coach Bruce Boudreau, Castonguay took issue with her pre-existing friendship with its author, Patrick Johnston, and questioned Doerrie’s mental ability to do her job.
When asked about her working relationship with Castonguay, Doerrie chose her words carefully.
“I think ‘not great’ would be a fair way of putting that. I would encourage everybody to read the complaint and understand that this is an official complaint and I can’t lie in something like that. There are legal ramifications for doing so,” Doerrie said.
“I would say that based on the facts in the complaint, to paint my relationship with Emilie as anything other than harmful to my mental health would be inaccurate.”
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The complaint also alleges that while the entire management team attended Canucks Training Camp in Whistler, Castonguay wouldn’t acknowledge Doerrie at team functions, making her feel isolated from the rest of the staff. Those situations began to affect Doerrie’s pre-existing health issues, including a heart condition and PTSD, both of which she had informed the Canucks of before joining the organization.
After being treated by team doctors for cardiac episodes and anxiety attacks caused by the situation and returning to Vancouver, Doerrie’s complaint states that she met with the Canucks’ HR department about Castonguay’s comments towards her.
Doerrie was later informed that Canucks GM Patrik Allvin was terminating her employment with the team, based on Castonguay’s information.
As far as her relationship with other members of the Canucks’ front office and coaching staff, Doerrie named several staff members who she said were always respectful towards her, including President of Hockey Ops Jim Rutherford.
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“I still have a great deal of respect for Jim Rutherford. I’ve never had an issue with him, actually. He was nothing but kind to me,” Doerrie said. “And so for me working with the Canucks, I felt that I had a really great relationship with Jim. I felt that he had my best interests at heart.”
“And I will say the people that I worked with at the analytics department, whether Aidan, Ryan, Miles, Martin — all absolutely fantastic people. Even touching base with different people in management or the coaching staff, like Bruce Boudreau and his staff are some of my favourite people in hockey, and I will always be supportive of them. The same extends to somebody like Ryan Johnson or Derek Clancey or Jeremy Colliton.”
Doerrie was also clear that she doesn’t believe her treatment was indicative of the organization as a whole.
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“I just think that it’s not fair to paint the entire organization in a negative light, and I don’t want to do that because there’s a lot of people in that organization that I wish really good things for and I wish success for, and I have nothing bad to say about.”
Doerrie went on to say that as far as her mental health was concerned, the front office was overall very understanding of it, and highlighted a few key members for being helpful in that arena.
“Cammi Granato in particular was extremely supportive. Ryan Johnson as well, Aiden Fox was tremendous, and so I did feel supported.”
But Doerrie did add that there were still specific health care resources that the team offered to help her, but were never delivered on.
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“I was told because I was moving to Vancouver, and because of how the health care system in Canada works, I was going to have to change everything. And so I was told that that would be provided to me, and it never was,” Doerrie said. “Anybody with any kind of mental illness can understand that if you go nine months without seeing somebody, that can be pretty detrimental to your health.”
“And then you add in the fact that you’re moving across the country and working for a National Hockey League team.”
In a press release on Saturday, Castonguay and the Canucks publicly denied the allegations in the complaint, a move that Doerrie fully expected.
“In the document that I filed, you have to tell the truth by law,” Doerrie said. “We all know how PR works, and I’m not saying that the Canucks are doing one thing or another. But I would encourage people to understand that there’s a difference between filing a tribunal document and filing a PR statement to the public.”
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As for what Doerrie wants out of filing the complaint, it comes down to two things; one is accountability for how the Canucks treated her.
“This has never, ever, been about money. If this was about money, I would have been silent and gone a long time ago. To me, this is about public accountability,” Doerrie said.
“In that document, I take accountability for the text that I sent. I took accountability for it in the meeting, and I still do. But it takes two to have a relationship, and the Canucks are not willing to take any accountability for the way that they treated me. And I think that’s really at the end of this what I’m looking for.”
The other is to open up avenues for future NHL employees to have a better experience in the industry than she has, a field that she currently doesn’t see herself ever wanting to work in again.
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“I want hockey to be a more welcoming place, I think we all do. And so for me, the ultimate goal was to make the NHL a little bit more of a welcoming environment for people,” she said.
“There are a lot of really great people in this game and a lot of really great people in the Canucks’ front office. And, I think that when there is something like this that happens, the only way that we’re going to get better is if we talk about it.”