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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 is free from all forms of Maltreatment, Bullying and Harassment.

Section 11 – Maltreatment, is a new addition to the Hockey Canada Rulebook for the 2021-22 season. The update includes bringing all forms of Maltreatment under one section of the rulebook and provides guidelines for escalating penalties based on the severity of the inappropriate behaviour from players and team officials. Hockey Canada believes that every person should have positive experiences in hockey, the revision of the playing rules better reflects the organization’s commitment to ridding the game of all forms of maltreatment.

The purpose of the implementation 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 will also be implemented to eradicate discrimination of all forms from the game. The new rule 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 may occur on or off-ice may be reported. As part of the new rules, certain infractions will include an indefinite suspension pending a hearing, as well as mandatory hearings for repeat offenders. Incidents may be reported by the official or by completing the form below.

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, Bullying & Harassment Reporting Form >

Maltreatment

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).

Bullying

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

Engaging in a course of vexatious comments or behaviours that are known or ought reasonably to be known to be unwelcome, including but not limited to unwanted behaviour that is based on discrimination prohibited by human rights legislation and includes sexual harassment.

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.

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 below. 

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 >


RESPONSIBILITIES

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.

EXPECTATIONS

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.