Sooke Minor Hockey is giving a hip check to harassment of players and officials on and off the ice this season.
The result? There will be zero tolerance for inappropriate parent or coach behavior, said Dee Vivian, president of Sooke Minor Hockey.
Both B.C. Hockey and the Vancouver Island Amateur Hockey Association have launched program to reduce the number of harassment incidents in minor hockey.
All parents are required to watch a video Sportsmanship Starts in the Stands and fill out a code of conduct for B.C. Hockey.
VIAHA has made it mandatory for one parent of all children registered in minor hockey to hold a valid respect in sport certificate. This is obtained by doing a parent course online.
Any players who does not have one parent with an RIS completed by Oct 31 will be removed from the ice and unable to attend practices or games until it is rectified. VIAHA also has an additional code of conduct that needs to be filled out.
“We have had incidences [in the past],” Vivian said.
“Do I think this is going to stop every incident from happening? No, I don’t, but it will make people think twice and remember why the kids are out there.”
This year Sooke Minor hockey will ice 18 teams. There will be both pee wee and midget rep teams and an atom development squad. There will be no bantam team this year due to a lack of players. The rest of the teams will form house league.
There will also be one less female team, and not the reason you might think. More girls are registered for hockey but prefer to be on integrated teams.
Sooke Minor Hockey is also initiating a new development program this year for its 276 registered players, with guest coaches coming from up Island to teach.
BETWEEN THE LINES … Coaches are still needed for all divisions … a cap has been placed on the number officials this year due to the number of individuals who have volunteered. Dee Vivian said they capped the number so that all officials get as many games as possible.