Recently there has been a lot of talk in social and mainstream media about “Hockey Culture”, including many negative stories that portray the sport with a broad and generalized brush.
Are there negative elements to the sport, especially at the junior and pro level? Of course, there are; we would be naïve to think that hockey is immune from things like racism, sexism, power imbalances, hazing, and abuse. I have personally been around the sport for my entire life and I have had to call out my teammates, my coaches and others regarding what I knew was unacceptable and disrespectful behaviour, just like many of you may have done during your careers in your workplace.
I do though think that it is wrong to generalize that Minor Hockey has a toxic culture. I believe that for the most part minor hockey promotes a culture of, respect for others, inclusion, teamwork, sacrifice, fair play, sportsmanship, merit-based accountability, and safety. At SEMI Hockey we work very hard to promote those positive values of the sport on a daily basis. We work hard to seek out progressive coaches who understand that they are teaching young people positive life skills as much as they are teaching hockey. We try to engage all stakeholders in creating a safe and welcoming environment, asking players, coaches, safety people, parents and administrators to play a role in this. We have Codes of Conduct that we take very seriously, and supervision and safety protocols that we ask all to follow and respect.
We recognize that with an association of our size that situations do occur that require intervention and correction to ensure that the above is followed. We encourage everyone, that if you encounter or witness an experience where the positive values of the game are not being respected, that you report it, so we can ensure that everyone is treated with respect and all are safe at all times. If you have any concerns please contact our office by phone (604-385-1842) or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will handle your reports in confidence. Alternatively, there is a Sport Canada helpline available at 1-888-83SPORT (77678).
Lets all work together to make SEMI Hockey a safe, fun place where youth can grow and develop and make lifelong friendships.
Dave Newson | Executive Director| SEMI Hockey