| An important message as we head into the home stretch of the minor hockey season…
At this stage of the season we do find that the intensity in all the games increases as teams battle for playoff positioning or face elimination games in their respective leagues. It can be an exciting time of the year and we hope that it brings out the best in all participants.
We feel that it is also an important time to remind all stakeholders that our continued commitment to ensuring our SEMI Hockey players are having fun and developing in a safe and respectful environment should remain our number one objective.
We have high expectations of all SEMI Hockey Players, Coaches, Team Safety Personnel, Referees/Game Officials, and Parents to all play a role in maintaining this high standard of player safety.
For Players: you have a responsibility to the other competitors and your teammates to play hard, but always maintain respect for your opponents, never allow yourself to get too caught up in the emotion of a game where you make bad choices on the ice that could result in player injury. Please be honest with safety personnel and disclose all injuries, and follow proper return to play guidelines; it is not worth it to take shortcuts just to play in a minor hockey game, when the consequences of not properly treating an injury could have long term effects.
For Coaches: You have a responsibility to lead your players and teams and send a proactive message that respect and safety need to be forefront in players’ minds. Coaches are expected to control their own emotions and be aware of situations where their players need to be reminded of proper respect and safety. Coaches are asked to respect the decisions of the team safety personnel when caring for any injured athletes.
For Team Safety Personnel: You have a responsibility to continue to be diligent in monitoring the game and the athletes to ensure that they are evaluated and treated correctly, always erring on the side of caution and acting in the best long term interest of the athlete. This includes diligently following the appropriate protocols for head injury management and return to play procedures.
For Referees and Game Officials: You have a continued responsibility to oversee each game with an eye to player safety. This means proper and consistent execution of the rules, specifically being aware of actions and infractions related to head contact, checks from behind, and goalie contact that can result in serious injury.
For Parents: You have a responsibility to continue to be leaders in emphasising a culture of safety and respect with your young players. Encourage your players to interact positively and honestly with their Coaches and team Safety Personnel. Injuries to players are not always immediately apparent and some injury symptoms can be delayed. Please learn and follow as needed the return to learn and return to play protocols and procedures which are available on SEMI Hockey’s website. You are expected to support and cheer on your team, however never at the expense of disrespecting the opposition or the game officials.
As you can see, it takes all stakeholders buying in to create a culture of safety in order for the greatest game in the World to be the successful fun experience that we know it can be. Please always keep in mind why we are here, to provide a positive experience that will last a lifetime, and let’s all put the long-term safety of the players first.
Good luck to all for the remainder of the season.