Playing hockey as a kid is supposed to be about having fun and learning to be a team player but sometimes the experience can turn ugly.
Stories of hazing, bullying and harassment in dressing rooms and parents behaving badly in hockey rinks across the country have sparked a call to action.
Hockey Regina is making it mandatory for parents to complete an online course on appropriate behaviour. The Respect in Sport Group first launched a similar program in Calgary last year and so far the response has been positive.
Hockey Regina president Geoff Thachuk wants to see this happen in Regina next. He explained that the program is meant to raise awareness about respect for parents and to help every player have positive experience when they play on a youth team.
“It’s a great program and it will be mandatory for registration into Hockey Regina for 2012 and 2013,” he said.
When it comes to dealing with crisis situations, bullying and harassment it is important for coaches and parents to be aware of how they happen and how to help their kids deal with it.
Bullying and harassment are not limited to the players - sometimes parents are the ones behaving badly. Thachuk addressed this problem, saying that 99.9 per cent of the parents he meets in Regina are very good but he is hoping the program will target the behavior of the 0.1 per cent.
“I honestly believe that everybody out there is very positive, very good,” Thachuk commented, adding that sometimes expressing emotions is the problem. “Maybe the words coming across aren’t necessarily what they want to say and hopefully this program will help them say the right thing.”
The code of conduct already addresses issues of bullying, harassment and hazing but the new program is meant to help parents understand how to spot these problems.
The course only takes one hour to complete and only one parent is required to take it in each family.