Respect training required for Ontario hockey parents
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association is forcing parents to complete an online respect course before the puck drops on the 2014-2015 season.
The program is called Respect in Sport and promotes positive behaviour in the stands and respect towards coaches, players, officials and other parents. The course will be mandatory for parents who want their children to participate in the OMHA and its affiliate leagues.
"We see a very small percent were parents have gone off the rails a bit," says Barrie Minor Hockey Association president Murray Shanks. "The goal is to get parents to think about their actions and even how they talk to their children about the game."
At least one parent or guardian for every minor hockey player registered will be required to take the course. It costs $12 and takes one hour to complete. The hockey parent will then have to provide a certificate number proving they completed the course when registering their child.
The program has been rolled in rinks across the country. The Calgary Hockey Association made it mandatory for its parents in 2010 and is reporting the number of paternal disciplinary hearings has dropped by 10 per cent.
Hockey parents in Barrie say they have no problem taking the course.
"When there is competition involved you will have heighten emotions but to have that knowledge, you can tone down your level of enthusiasm a bit," says hockey dad Patrick Campbell.
"Maybe parents will think twice about their actions," says Laurie Kelly, whose son plays Minor Bantam 'A' for Barrie.
Some parents are questioning how effective the program will be.
"About 99 per cent of us are really good," says Bill Warner. "I don't think we're going to reach that 1 per cent, it's up to parent groups to monitor and police."
The OMHA says if at least one parent doesn't complete the course, their child won't be allowed to step on the ice in the fall.