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Maltreatment, Bullying & Harassment

Hockey Alberta is committed to contributing to the physical, psychological, social and spiritual health of individuals of varying abilities, backgrounds and interests. Hockey Alberta firmly believes that only when sport environments are safe and inclusive can these values be realized. Participants in Hockey Alberta sanctioned programming should have the reasonable expectation that it will be in an environment that is accessible, inclusive and free from all forms of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment.

Fair Play Means Safety for All. Hockey Alberta is committed to providing a safe environment for everyone involved in the game.

Any form of bullying, harassment, or maltreatment - whether physical, emotional or sexual - of any participant in any program is unacceptable.

It can happen between peers, younger and older players, or adults and young players. Each association, team, parent, volunteer and staff member is expected to take all reasonable steps to safeguard the welfare of participants - especially young participants - and protect them from any form of violence. There is a shared responsibility with parents and guardians to nurture the physical and emotional well-being of our players.

All forms of Maltreatment have been brought under Section 11 of the Hockey Canada Playing Rules.

The purpose of Section 11 is to:

  • Establish principles and guidelines, as well as appropriate responses to instances of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment.
  • Promote a commitment to eliminating Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment for all participants through education, awareness and prevention.
  • Provide direction on establishing principles and guidelines as well as appropriate responses to instances of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment.
  • Provide a safe environment for participants in any sanctioned program.

A new national reporting system has been implemented to eradicate discrimination of all forms from the game. The Playing Rules and system includes, but is not limited to, discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

Incidents of Maltreatment that occur on or off-ice may be reported. Certain infractions also include an indefinite suspension pending a hearing, as well as mandatory hearings for repeat offenders. Incidents may be reported by the official or through the Independent Safe Sport Complaint Process.

Who is Responsible for Safety?

Each association, team, parent, volunteer and staff member is expected to take all reasonable steps to safeguard the welfare of participants - especially young participants - and protect them from any form of violence. There is a shared responsibility with parents and guardians to nurture the physical and emotional well-being of our players.


Hockey Alberta is committed to ensuring an investigation of all reports of Maltreatment, Bullying or Harassment involving participants takes place.

Hockey Canada Rulebook >

Maltreatment, Bullying & Harassment Policy >

Maltreatment Investigations & Decision Making Process >

Maltreatment Investigator Application Form >

Independent Third Party Complaint Process >


Volitional acts that result in harm or the potential for physical or psychological harm. Maltreatment can take many forms, but generally includes any act, lack of an action or deliberate behaviour, by a person(s) in a position of trust that causes physical, emotional and/or sexual harm or damage to another person. Maltreatment also includes child abuse, which can be defined as any form of physical, emotional and/or sexual mistreatment or lack of care which causes physical injury or emotional damage to a child, whether done in person or through technology (including but not limited to computers, the Internet, cell phones, cameras, web cameras and other media).



The combined use of negative aggression and power. It occurs when one or more individuals abuse power and direct verbal, physical or social aggression at another individual. Harm inflicted by Bullying may be physical, psychological, social or educational.



Harassment is offensive behaviour - emotional, physical, and/or sexual - that involves discrimination against a person because of their race, national or ethnic origin, age, colour, religion, family status, sexual orientation, sex/gender, disability, marital status, or pardoned conviction. It is conduct that is disrespectful, insulting, ­intimidating, humiliating, offensive or physically harmful. Harassment is a HUMAN RIGHTS violation. Harassment may be a single event or a pattern of mistreatment. Harassment occurs when someone attempts to negatively control, influence or embarrass another person or group based on a prohibited ground of discrimination. Examples include displays of favouritism, subtle put downs or ostracism. Dealing with harassment can sometimes be difficult as what is viewed as harassment by one person may be viewed as a “joke” by another person. It is the impact of the behaviour on the victim that is the most critical issue, not the intention of the person who harasses.


Discriminatory grounds include the following, without limitation:

  • Race, national or ethnic origin, skin colour, or language spoken.
  • Religion, faith, or beliefs. 
  • Age. 
  • Sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity/ expression. 
  • Marital or familial status. 
  • Genetic characteristics. 
  • Disability. 

There is a responsibility to report any discrimination experienced on- or off-the-ice, whether witnessed by a member of the officiating team, or not. If an incident occurs that was not witnessed by an official, it should be reported to the official and the official shall report the individual(s) to the appropriate member of each team’s bench staff. As well, the official shall complete a Game Incident Report, that includes full details and submit it to the Member or League delegate. 

Any player, goaltender or team official who engages in verbal taunts, insults, or intimidation based on discriminatory grounds, shall be assessed a Gross Misconduct. 

If an incident is not reported to an official, it can be reported using the form above. 

An in-game allegation occurs when the incident is reported to the official, but the official did not witness incident and it was not penalized. Since the incident was not witnessed, it must be reported to the appropriate bench staff of both teams that the incident will be documented in the Game Incident Report. 

Traditionally, the playing rules have been viewed as governing interactions between competing teams. But in the context of maltreatment, the playing rules apply to every participant in the game.

  • Game officials must be alert to all forms of maltreatment and be ready to penalize and report any participant who violates these rules.
  • Game officials must stress to players and team personnel that they want to hear concerns related to maltreatment. This is an essential step in players and team personnel feeling comfortable expressing such concerns.
  • Game officials must report an incident even if they didn’t see it; this is an important part of the new process.
  • Everyone must commit to ridding the game of maltreatment and to ensuring positive hockey experiences for all.

Effective Conduct Management

Unfortunately, there are times in all sports where behavioral expectations are not met. In the grand scope, these instances are few and far between. However when improper behaviour issues arise the situation must be managed in an appropriate manner that respects the rights of all parties.

Hockey Alberta has created a guide to managing conduct for its members which provides a step by step process on how to effectively manage concerns that are brought forward..

Conduct Management Guide >


It is the role of the local minor hockey association or club team to manage conduct related concerns as outlined in Hockey Alberta’s Conduct Management Guide. Hockey Alberta provides guidance to the local association on managing situations however will not act in any capacity in the process. Hockey Alberta’s role is only to review the process to ensure it meets standard expectations and will only review the process used once it has been completed.


It is Hockey Alberta’s expectation that should a concern be brought forth to the local minor hockey association or club team it will be managed in a manner consistent with the principles outlined in Hockey Alberta’s Conduct Management Guide. The key expectations include:

  • All concerns brought forth must be acknowledged by the local minor hockey association or club team.
  • Should the organization feel that there is some base to the concern, the concern must be investigated by a party independent of the incident.
  • Once all the information has been collected through the investigation, a neutral party determines if there has been a violation of a rule or policy.
  • Should the party determine a violation has occurred, the accused must be notified of the accusation(s) against him/her and has the right to address the accusation(s) prior to any guilt being determined.
  • Finally, should the accused be found in the violation of a rule or policy, the accused has the right to appeal to a neutral party.

It is also Hockey Alberta’s expectation that members of a local minor hockey association or club team understand the organization’s policies regarding appropriate behaviour in the organization, the processes that are used to manage concerns, and should a member the be involved in a conduct-related matter that they participate in the process as outlined, including respecting timeliness.

Process for Managing Concerns

The Team Level

The first step in any concern management process is to address at the team level and it should be done in a timely and respectful manner. Respectful means showing respect when approaching a person regarding a concern and respecting the processes outlined to bring forth concerns, such as using a team liaison and/or a 24-hour rule. Timely means it is brought forth in a time frame that allows the proper management of the concern.

The Local Minor Hockey Association Level

Should you not feel the concern was managed appropriately at the Team level, the next step is to bring it to your organization’s attention through their processes. These processes can vary depending on the size and structure of your local association and can have additional steps within the process so please ensure you are familiar with your organization’s processes. Hockey Alberta expects that all concerns brought forward to an association be managed in an appropriate manner as outlined by Hockey Alberta’s conduct management process.

Hockey Alberta Level

Should a person feel their concern was not managed appropriately by the association the final step would be for Hockey Alberta to review the matter. Hockey Alberta only reviews the process/ procedures used to manage the situation not the outcome of the process. A review of the process is not an appeal to Hockey Alberta and the onus is on the person bringing forth the concern to identify where s/he believes the process was not managed appropriately.

Grow the Game Starter Kit – Free Resources

Grow the Game is a hub of anti-racism resources for the hockey community. This includes videos, publications, and more to understand the impact racism has on hockey and how we can work together to fight it. The Starter Kit includes three short videos and a tab for the Resource Rink that may be used by Members this season.  

The Respectful Athlete: Online Training

Respect in sports is important. Young athletes must treat other players, coaches, officials, and spectators with respect at all times. This course is a self-paced learning experience that most participants can complete within 30 minutes. The objective is to help young athletes deepen their understanding of both acceptable and unacceptable attitudes and behaviours, and identify practical ways to support an inclusive, respectful sport environment.

Cost: $32.95
Length: 30-45 minutes

Anti-racism in Coaching

The new Anti-racism in Coaching eLearning module addresses critical and timely issues raised by coaches and sport organizations in Canada. To upskill coaches working with racialized participants, the module will provide historical context about marginalized people in Canada, build awareness of racism in sport, and provide tools for contemporary anti-racist coaching methods – all through a Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) lens. 

Cost: Free
Length: 60-75 minutes

Creating a Positive Sport Environment

Participant-centered coaching strategies are an effective way to establish a safe and inclusive sport culture. By placing participants at the centre of the coaching process, coaches can promote growth and athletic development, foster creativity and learning, and protect participants from harm.

Cost: $15.00
Length: 40-50 Minutes 

Understand the Rule of Two

The goal of the Rule of Two is to ensure all interactions and communications are open, observable and justifiable. It is one of three pillars of the Responsible Coaching Movement, along with background screening and ethics training. 

Cost: Free
Length: 20 Minutes

Raising Next Gen Men

Next Gen Men (NGM) is a Canadian leader in engaging and empowering boys and men on topics like mental health and gender-based violence. This course, Raising Next Gen Men, is for parents, educators, coaches, youth workers, and anyone who understands how much difference one, well-equipped mentor can make in young people’s lives. It will help you understand how boys shape, and are shaped by, a wide array of gender-based cultural norms, by delving into academic research in the field, young masculinity in popular culture, and real stories about boys. 

Cost: $99.00
Length: 8 to 10 Hours

Policies provide a road map for the organization and its members, continuity to the activities of the organization over time as personnel come and go, and ensure that matters are dealt with in a consistent fashion. Most organizations already have policies such as selection of coaches and athletes for competition, sanctioning and running tournaments, and appeals of decisions. Harassment and Abuse policies are additions to the policy foundation already in place in most organizations.

Developing an Abuse, Harassment and Bullying Policy

A strong policy dealing with Harassment and Abuse raises awareness and sends a message to the members that harassment and abuse will not be tolerated, while providing a mechanism to deal with these issues quickly, effectively, and responsibly.

There are two options when developing policies pertaining to harassment and abuse:

  1. Integrate Abuse, Harassment and Bullying into existing codes of conduct and discipline policies.
  2. Create a separate, stand-alone policy on Abuse, Harassment and Bullying.

Regardless of the approach chosen, there are five key areas that must be covered:

  1. A statement of purpose, scope and application of the policy.
  2. A statement of standard of behaviour which is expected, and of unacceptable behaviour.
  3. A description of the procedures for reviewing complaints when the standards of behaviour are breached, and these procedures must:
    • satisfy legal requirements of procedural fairness
    • address how an organization will respond to a complaint
    • show how information about a complaint will be gathered
    • inform how a hearing will occur and how a decision will be made
  4. A guideline for imposing disciplinary sanctions in the event there is a finding of harassment or abuse against an individual.
  5. An appeal mechanism to provide recourse to an individual who is not satisfied with the outcome of the dispute.

Note: If developing a stand-alone harassment and abuse policy, all five of these elements must be included in it.

If the approach is to integrate harassment and abuse into a code of conduct and discipline policy, then the harassment and abuse wording must be integrated into two separate policies:

  • a code of conduct (1 and 2 above)
  • a discipline procedure (3, 4, and 5 above)

Key Principles Required in a Policy

The policy must be fair to all parties involved, easy to understand and implement, and must meet your legal obligations.

A well written policy will act as an organization’s best friend by:

  • ensuring that individuals respect the process because it is viewed as objective, fair, and effective.
  • ensuring that individuals are dealt with fairly and responsibly.
  • simplifying a complicated process with a clear outline of how the issue will be processed.
  • protecting your organization by clearly outlining what is unacceptable behavior.