Discipline happens at various levels within the KMHA/District 11 and outside of it. Minor issues are typically dealt with at the team level or division level while others must be escalated to KMHA Conduct Management or the District 11 Chairperson.
While most everyday issues are dealt with within the team or division the KMHA Executive member that deals with Conduct management within the organization is the Coordinator Risk Safety & Conduct Management.
The Coordinator is responsible for investigation of all issues escalated to him that are not part of an official game record. (Issues that are part of an official game record are dealt with by the District 11 Chairperson under the ODMHA Code of Discipline.)
The Coordinator is responsible to investigate all issues brought to him. Not every issue that is investigated will end with a disciplinary action, some cases will be found to be without merit, others may be resolved via mediation. The Coordinator does not have to wait for a complaint to be made to call a player, parent, coach or volunteer in to speak to them.
Discipline of Players
At the team level only head coaches may dispense discipline to players. Anytime a disciplinary measure is taken by the coach there must be a conversation with the player and the parent to ensure that the reasons for the action are understood by all.
Disciplinary action handed out by coaches is limited in nature, the most severe action being a one game suspension. No discipline may be imposed that is humiliating to the player or that ostracizes them from the team. Yelling is never an acceptable form of discipline at any age.
Acceptable discipline at this level would include actions such as a warning regarding the negative behaviour and requesting that it stop, apologizing to member(s) of the team that have been impacted by the negative behaviour, sitting for a portion up to an entire game.
Discipline should be commensurate with the action being disciplined and must be used fairly and equally across the team. While it would be impossible to cover every possible action that could result in discipline it must be recognized that actions will fall into the categories – Mild, Moderate and Severe:
- Mild – i.e. constant late arrival, consistently not coming prepared to play with all equipment, swearing
- Moderate – i.e. disrespecting coaching staff, openly blaming other players for lack of team success, fighting in the dressing room
- Severe – i.e. racial slurs, bullying, vandalism.
Cases of severe behaviour will always be escalated to the convenor who will consult with the KMHA Coordinator Risk Safety & Conduct Management.
The Division Convenor, or in the case of competitive, the Competitive Program Director will become involved in any situation where the behaviour is considered to be severe or the coach feels a suspension of more than one game is warranted. The convenor may do one of the following:
- Guide the coach as to the appropriate action
- Dispense the disciplinary action up to and including a 2 game suspension
- Direct the issue to the Coordinator Risk Safety & Conduct Management
When it comes to the discipline of non-players the process is different.
A teams head coach is responsible for dealing with the negative behaviour of the players on their team and their own bench staff with the support of their Divisions Convenor/Director, and the Coordinator Risk Safety & Conduct Management. A teams coach is not responsible for dealing with the negative behaviour of other KMHA volunteers or parents.
If a parent feels that another parents behaviour is negatively impacting other KMHA members they can either speak to their teams coach who can refer the issue to the Division Convenor/Director who can either take action or direct the issue to the correct KMHA Executive member to deal with.
It is vital to remember that the 24 hour rule MUST be followed in these cases unless there is an imminent risk to the safety of a player or other KMHA member. The 24 Hour Rule is simply explained as follows; when problems arise it is a benefit for all concerned to wait for a day before you report an issue so that the emotion of a situation does not get in the way of the facts.
If a member feels strongly that they cannot begin to address the situation at the team level they may invoke the issue resolution process at Step 4. If the behaviour of a KMHA executive member is at issue then the member should always follow the Issue Resolution process as this goes directly to the KMHA Coordinator Risk Safety & Conduct Management. Should the issue be with the KMHA Coordinator Risk Safety & Conduct Management then it should be directed to the President.
Hearings generally happen for three reasons:
- A player has established a pattern of negative behaviour that has resulted in the need for a hearing
- An incident(s) has occurred at the team level that has not been able to be resolved to the satisfaction and has therefore been escalated
- A complaint has been received and found to have merit regarding the behaviour of a member that is in violation of the KMHA Code of Conduct
What happens at a hearing?
If the hearing is based on a member complaint. Both the complainant and the person(s) against whom the complaint has been made will get the opportunity to share their version of events along with others who have pertinent information regarding the event.
The committee may ask questions regarding the incident. The committee will then render a decision based on the information they have been presented. Both parties to the complaint will be informed of the decision of the committee.
The committee may:
- Determine that no further disciplinary action is warranted
- Determine that disciplinary action is required and what that action will be
- Remove or change disciplinary action rendered at a lower level in the process
This process is essentially the same regardless of the level of hearing being attended.
The Appeals Process
Any disciplinary action handed down by the KMHA Committee may be appealed to the District 11 Chairperson. The cost for this appeal is $100. An appeal to this level must be made in writing within 72 hours of the decision being rendered by the KMHA Committee.
Appeals to higher hockey levels will explained to the appellant at each step of the appeals process.
Download a printable version of this document: Parent’s Guide to Conduct & Discipline in KMHA & District 11