Hockey is unfortunately known almost as much for fights on the ice as for the quality of play.
Sometimes however in minor hockey events, rude behaviour, offensive language, screaming, inciting players on the ice to fight, threatening referees and so on are unfortunately more common in the stands than on the ice as hockey parents get more “passionately intense” than the young players.
It is an ongoing problem in minor hockey across the country and now in Quebec, new rules have been created to keep aggressive parents in line, as well as guidelines for teams and players. arena personnel, league administrators, and with guidelines for others in the stands who may want to intervene to calm an aggressive situation.
The new guidelines are the result of a collaboration among certain provincial officials, the Quebec minor hockey federation and a citizen mediation group called Equijustice which had created a similar guideline for the Victoriaville (Qc) minor hockey league in 2011. In 2017 the Quebec minister of Education had contacted the organisation for help in creating a similar but more detailed policy for the province .
The 43 page booklet creates new guidelines for behaviour by parents, as well as roles and responsibilities for teams and arena personnel, officials, league administrators and even for others in the stands who may want to intervene in situations that appear to be getting out of control. The booklet deals with issues of intimidation, threats, violence, inciting players on the ice to fight, lack of respect, and actual violence.
When the release of the new guidelines was announced last week Quebec Junion Education Minister Isabell Charest said, “Excessive bad language and disgraceful conduct cannot be tolerated in hockey and unfortunately today, we continue to see this type of behaviour too often in Quebec’s arenas.”
The booklet lays out levels of procedures and consequences for infractions in three Code levels and stages for each.
Code 1 deals with (5 warning levels/infractions)- abuse of alcohol or drugs, unacceptable comments on social media, and lack of respect for others.
A first infraction involves a verbal or written warning a 3rd infraction results in a mediation process and disciplinary hearing
Code 2 (3 warning levels/infractions) involves refusal to respect a warning or previous intervention or inciting a child to act inappropriately or to fight. A second infraction results in expulsion and/or suspension from the arena
Code 3 (2 levels of warning/infraction). A first infraction results in a disciplinary hearing and /or mediation, and/or expulsion from the arena.
In each of the Codes, a final infraction could result in expulsion from the league.
However, if any situation gets out of hand, Paul Menard, head of Hockey Quebec, said police will be called. This is the latest effort to avoid problems with parents. A pan-Canadian programme was created a few years ago called “Respect in Sport” which involves all sports.