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Good morning, and welcome to the weekend.

Grab your cup of coffee or tea and sit down with a selection of this week’s great reads from The Globe.

In this issue, we hear from Neil Doef, whose budding hockey career was cut short at 17 after an on-ice injury that ultimately left him paralyzed in his left leg and with neurological damage in all of his limbs. Doef and his family talk to Grant Robertson about their seven-year legal battle against Hockey Canada and the organization’s insurer after they were told he would only qualify for $30,000 for the lost use of one limb. “He was playing quite a high level of hockey. He went headfirst into the boards on a fairly routine play,” Robertson said, adding that Doef was initially left paralyzed from the chest down. Robertson said revelations about the existence of the controversial National Equity Fund – a multimillion-dollar reserve that was used to settle sexual-assault allegations – and Hockey Canada’s assertion that it also served to help uninsurable or underinsured players with injuries, prompted him to look at Doef’s story “in a different light,” years after the accident.

Shannon Proudfoot speaks with donors and former and current staffers at the National Gallery about their concerns over the institution’s future as management seeks to implement a strategic plan that critics say is vague and falls short of its aim to become truly inclusive.

And Vanmala Subramaniam looks at whether unions can sustain the progress they’ve achieved during the pandemic as a potential recession looms.

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As Hockey Canada settles sexual-assault claims, seriously injured players have to fight for compensation

Neil Doef is one of several players who have fought Hockey Canada for insurance coverage after being seriously injured.John Kealey/The Globe and Mail

Hockey Canada has financial reserves worth millions and vast sums of money held in obscure funds that are not fully disclosed. When it came to light that the organization quietly settled sexual-assault cases using a fund built from registration fees, injured hockey players like Neil Doef were left wondering why they have to fight the organization for compensation to cover the steep medical bills they face. In Doef’s case, his years-long legal battle may finally be resolved in May – assuming the case isn’t pushed back again, as it has been because of legal wrangling, court delays and the pandemic.

Inside the power struggles and staff turmoil at Canada’s National Gallery

Greg A. Hill, former curator of Indigenous art for the National Gallery of Canada, in front of his own art at his Chelsea home on Dec. 6.Sarah Dea/The Globe and Mail

The issues at the National Gallery were simmering long before the recent string of dismissals. Rather, interviews with 10 donors and current and former staff members reveal that resentment and disaffection among employees has been building ever since Sasha Suda, the interim director and chief executive’s predecessor, became the gallery’s new director and CEO in 2019. Now, the upheaval is putting Canada’s premier art institution at risk, with multiple big donors backing away from a gallery in disarray. Shannon Proudfoot has the story.

Emboldened unions – are we about to head into a protracted year of confrontation?

CUPE members and supporters join a demonstration in the east end of Ottawa, on Nov. 4, 2022.Spencer Colby/The Canadian Press

The pandemic saw many unions and their members – nurses, teachers, factory workers – pushed to the brink of exhaustion, with wages that barely kept up with skyrocketing inflation. These economic conditions have emboldened them over the past year to demand wages that match inflation, push back against offers that they may have accepted in the past and vote to strike at any deal that maintains the status quo. But with a recession on the horizon, how long will this moment in time last, and to what extent will unions be able to capitalize on it?

Documenting the armed uprising in Myanmar

Karenni soldiers stand on top of a rock overlooking a valley on Oct. 9, 2022, in eastern Myanmar.Siegfried Modola/The Globe and Mail

Myanmar’s military junta has barred foreign journalists since the country descended into civil war in early 2021. But photojournalist Siegfried Modola was able to get an up-close look at the conflict, when he crossed the border from Thailand and met soldiers from the Karenni Army, a local militia whose members are part of a predominantly Catholic minority who’ve been fighting for self-determination since Myanmar’s independence in 1948. Now, they’re fighting alongside other militias to bring the country back to democratic rule.

Reconciliation in the private art world: How Taku River Tlingit got their robe

Wayne Carlick and 10-year-old Aria Binka, view the 140-year-old ceremonial Chilkat blanket at a Holiday Inn in Vancouver.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

For decades, museums and public art collections have been under pressure to repatriate Indigenous artifacts. But the trade in Indigenous items from private collections has escaped the same level of scrutiny. Patrick White reports the story of how the Taku River Tlingit got their 140-year-old robe back and the underexamined potential for reconciliation in the private art world.

Ukrainian leads in The Nutcracker are fighting for their country by dancing in Canada

Ballet dancers Olga Pasternak and Vladyslav Romashchenko rehearse in Thornhill, Ont., in early December.Melissa Tait/The Globe and Mail

Vladyslav Romashchenko and Olga Pasternak left Ukraine as refugees after Russia invaded their home country, where they estimate thousands of dancers have lost their jobs. Now, they will debut as Clara and her prince in the Toronto International Ballet Theatre’s The Nutcracker on Dec. 18.

The Blue Marble turns 50 this year. Here’s how it’s changed

This December,1972, photo released by NASA shows a view of the Earth as seen by the Apollo 17 crew while travelling toward the moon.The Associated Press

On Dec. 7, 1972, Apollo 17 blasted off for NASA’s final crewed mission to the moon. En route, one of the three astronauts – historians still aren’t sure which – held a custom-made Hasselblad camera and took one of history’s most famous planetary portraits. Evan Annett’s visual feature shows us the changes that have wrought the Earth’s climate since the Blue Marble photo was taken 50 years ago.

Opinion: The World Cup is a multicultural block party held in the midst of a gold rush

A portrait of Pelé is displayed at a Brazilian fan party before the the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Brazil and South Korea, in Doha, Dec. 5, 2022.Ashley Landis/The Associated Press

What do we want from global sporting events any more? That’s the question on Cathal Kelly’s mind as he wraps three weeks on the ground in Doha for the World Cup. It’s hard to make the case that it’s about getting the whole world together, when social media and fashion trends have shrunk the distance, he argues, and given way to a numbing worldwide consensus. Qatar’s World Cup isn’t a sports tournament, he argues. It’s a block party held in the midst of a gold rush. There was nothing here 50 years ago, he writes, and it’s close to certain it will return to that state soon enough.

Thanks for reading this week’s issue of Great Reads! Let us know what you think by e-mailing, and see you next weekend.

– Emerald Bensadoun and Beatrice Paez