The following is a statement on behalf of Hockey Canada:
“The last three weeks have seen heartfelt discussion and debate around our game and its culture. Some of the discussion concerning, some of it positive and all of it valuable, showing how much the sport means to so many Canadians.
Hockey Canada and its 13 provincial and territorial members want to assure you, the 750,000 players, coaches and officials that make up our membership, the parents and volunteers who keep the game strong in communities across Canada and our millions of fans, that we share your love for hockey and remain committed to delivering positive hockey experiences to everyone involved in the game.
Today, the hockey experience is better, safer and more inclusive, and this is due to improvements that include:
- The implementation of the Speak Out program in the late 1990s, focused on policy, promotion and education to address bullying, harassment and abuse
- Requiring minor hockey teams to have at least one person complete the Hockey Canada Safety program, focused on creating a safe and welcoming environment for all participants
- Revisions to the player pathway model, including the elimination of body-checking for players under 13 years old, to deliver age-appropriate skill development and a fun experience in the game for all participants
- The Respect in Sport program for parents in minor hockey to educate and empower them to recognize and prevent abuse, bullying and harassment
- The Respect in Sport for Activity Leaders and Coaches program designed specifically for coaches and volunteers to assist them in providing a safe environment for all participants
- A concussion app and web-based toolbox to help coaches, trainers, parents and players better understand concussions, including recognition, prevention, removal from play and return-to-play protocols
- A code of conduct instituted for all Hockey Canada staff and all Program of Excellence players and staff that includes criminal background checks and vulnerable sector screening
- The transition from historical age division names to the more commonly used U7, U9, U11,
- The participation of the Hockey Canada Board of Directors, senior staff and hockey leaders from across the country in a diversity and inclusion workshop to learn about and discuss how the game can become more diverse
- Work with our partners including TELUS The Code (anti-cyberbullying campaign), the Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup (inspiring young Canadians to be better citizens) and Kids Help Phone (professional counsellors on stand-by)
We embrace the responsibility to oversee Canada’s game and the last few weeks have humbled us. We know we need to continue to improve; this is our commitment to continue to work with all stakeholders to deliver more fun and more positive experiences for everyone in hockey and make all Canadians feel welcome in and around our great game.”
Vice-President, Marketing and Communications Hockey Canada