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MHA Safety Person

Keeping participants safe is a key responsibility of any association. Similar to other key responsibilities, such as participant development or governance, having a dedicated leader focusing on participant safety will ensure that a safe and fun environment will remain at the forefront of your association.

Hockey Alberta has compiled the following resources to help your association’s Safety Leader provide effective leadership within your association.

Key responsibilities of the Safety Lead include:

  • Serving as a direct contact with Hockey Alberta to share safety-related information within his/her association and provide feedback at the grassroots level;
  • Being a champion of participant safety and risk management within his/her local association; and
  • Ensuring specific safety initiatives are being completed,

While the ideal candidate will have a background in health care, the most important characteristics for this position are a passion for safety in the game, the ability to communicate effectively, and strong organizational skills.:

The key responsibilities for the MHA Safety Leader include:

  1. Provide leadership within the association with respect to participant safety,
  2. Lead the management of the association’s team safety people,
  3. Ensure the association and team safety people are implementing key safety initiatives and practices,
  4. Act as Liaison with Hockey Alberta to share safety related information to his or her association and to provide safety related feedback on behalf of his or her association.


The Safety Leader is expected to be a leader within the association. While this responsibility can be daunting for some, as part of Hockey Alberta’s inaugural MHA Safety Leader Development day, Hockey Alberta recruited Laura Naldrett of the 2019 Canada Winter Games to provide some tips on being a leader within your association.

While this presentation was designed for the Safety Leader role, the themes can be applied across your organization.  

A brief introduction to Laura, her background, and how the 2019 Canada Winter Games experience translates to your association. 

An introduction to the Volunteer Life Cycle and how it contributes to retaining good volunteers.

Laura discusses what is important to volunteers and how you can ensure they have a positive experience in your organization.

Laura shares some best practices on how to recruit the right people for your team or teams.  

Sustainable change occurs when it is embedded in the culture of an organization and the culture of an organization can be one of the biggest influences on the success of any new initiative. As a Safety Leader in your association you are looked upon to be a leader in having a safety focused culture in your association. While the thought of this may be intimidating for some, Hockey Alberta has compiled resources to help lead, embed, and sustain change in your association.

The success of any initiative starts with strong board support. Hear from representatives of Okotoks Minor Hockey on the importance of board support was to fulfilling the organization’s vision in being a leader in creating a safe environment for their participants. 

The motivation for change can occur as the result of any number of reasons. Hear from representatives of Okotoks Minor Hockey on the situation the served as a catalyst for change in the association and the importance of the Emergency Action Plan. 

There are numerous factors that lead to the successful implementation of a new initiative. Hear from representatives from Okotoks Minor Hockey on the key factors that have led to the successful implementation of their safety initiatives. 

Implementing change may not necessarily be smooth. Hear from representatives of Okotoks Minor Hockey on the challenges the organization faced in implementing their initiatives and how the organization was able to overcome these challenges. 

One consideration that can be overlooked in any change initiative can be cost. Hear from representatives of Okotoks Minor Hockey Association about budget considerations when implementing such an initiative.  

A safe environment is one of the most important factors in providing a positive participants experience. Hockey Alberta has identified nine standards that are at the foundation of creating a safe environment for the participants and it is expected that each association has these nine standards in place. To help our associations implement these standards, Hockey Alberta has built a library of resources for the members and support is available with a call or email to the office.

Standard 1 – An engaged MHA Safety Leader that is a part of the Board

The first step in creating a safe environment is to embed the values and practices into the organization. This starts by ensuring a safety perspective is included at the Board level of your association which is done by having someone fulfil the role of your MHA safety leader. In addition to bringing a safety focus to organizational decisions, having an engaged MHA Safety Leader also facilitates the two-way flow of information between Hockey Alberta, the association, and the participants.  

Resources Available:

  • MHA Safety Leader Job Description
  • Resources on how to lead volunteers
  • Resources on creating a safety focused culture
  • Information on board governance 
  • Monthly safety specific newsletters highlighting key information at the time it is relevant 
  • Biennial Hockey Alberta LMHA Safety Leader Training Day providing leadership development opportunities 

Standard 2 - An Environment that supports the Team Safety Person’s role and ability to fulfil the role 

The Team Safety Person fulfils a significant role in ensuring a safe environment for our participants. Creating an environment where the Team Safety Person feels supported in his or her decisions and is provided with the resources to fulfil the role is key to a successful safety program. Keys to a supportive environment include: a culture that values the importance of safety in the participants experience, a Board that supports these values and ensures the necessary resources are in place, and roles and expectations are clearly communicated to all stakeholders and are respected.

Resources Available:

  • Resources on creating a safety focused culture
  • Resources on difficult conversations
  • Policies and procedures on player removal and return to play processes
  • A guide to help navigate removing a player from an activity

Standard 3 - Orientation for Each Team Safety Person

Orientation and training of your volunteers is crucial to the success of creating a safe and fun environment for your participants. By providing meaningful orientation your Team Safety Person will understand the expectations of his or her role, how to successfully fulfil the role, and your association’s beliefs and values. By investing time in orientating, you will have more engaged volunteers who will perform their duties at a higher level.

Resources Available:

  • Team Safety Person Job Description highlighting the role and responsibilities of the position
  • Team Safety Binder template that provides all necessary documents for success in the role
  • Team Safety Person website housing all necessary information to be successful in the role and supplemental information to expand knowledge and skills in the area
  • A dedicated volunteer screening page outlining the ten-step screening process with additional resources

Standard 4 - Established player removal and return to play expectations

In a sport as unique as hockey injuries are a possibility, however having an established player removal process and return to play process that is led by the Team Safety Person will help minimize the impact should an injury occur. A good player removal and return to play process will identify how the decision to remove a player is made and the steps the player must participate in prior to returning to full game participation. These processes should be standard across the organization, supported by the board, and clearly communicated to all parents, players, and coaches prior to the season starting. 

Resources Available:

  • Hockey Canada Injury Report Form that is required to be completed when an injury occurs
  • Hockey Canada concussion policy outlining the expectations on how concussion like symptoms are managed
  • Injury assessment chart to provide general guidance on how to manage an injured player in the moment
  • Concussion recognition tool to help identify if the signs or symptoms of concussion are present
  • A guide to help navigate removing a player from an activity
  • A return to play guide outlining the six steps for a successful return to play
  • Return to play form to confirming a participant is clear to return to activities, and if necessary, any considerations
  • A concussion follow-up checklist to ensure all six steps of the return to play process have been completed

Standard 5 - An injury reporting system that ensures injuries are reported in a timely manner

If an injury occurs, it is important that it is reported in a timely manner to the association and Hockey Alberta to ensure that it is documented and those involved do not lose out on coverages provided to them. Having this knowledge also provides valuable information to your association, Hockey Alberta, and Hockey Canada that can be used to make the game safer. A good process does not have to be cumbersome, but it ensures that someone is accountable for forms being filled out completely and submitted within the allotted timeframe.

Resources Available:

  • Hockey Canada Injury Report Form that is required to be completed when an injury occurs
  • Hockey Alberta email address dedicated to injury claims
  • MHA Safety Leader Role to oversee the injury reporting process  

Standard 6 - Each team has a full stocked medical kit

Nothing will undermine your safety program more than not providing the tools to your volunteers to be successful in his or her role. A stocked medical kit with up-to-date supplies is a necessity for your team to ensure that if an injury occurs it can be managed appropriately.  

Resources Available:

  • Medical Kit Checklist that identifies all necessary supplies and their appropriate application
  • Partnership with Vereburn Medical Supplies to provide associations with prebuilt medical kits at a discounted price

Standard 7 - Each team has an established Emergency Action Plan that has been practiced at least once

The Emergency Action Plan is the most important plan a team can make. A good plan identifies who will fulfil the necessary roles, each role’s responsibility, and how each role interacts with each other to ensure a smooth process. By developing and practicing the plan, not only will the team be able to successfully manage a stressful situation should it occur but also save critical time.  

Resources Available:

  • Descriptions of each required role and the responsibilities of role volunteers, coaches, and on ice officials
  • Activation chart outlining the implementation of a plan
  • Video outlining what a successful plan looks like
  • Injury assessment chart to provide general guidance on how to manage an injured player
  • Concussion recognition tool to help identify if the signs or symptoms of concussion are present

Standard 8 - Each team has had a preseason safety meeting with parents and players to review roles and expectations

Preseason team meetings are key to orientating the players and parents to the team environment. While led by the coaching staff, it is important that the team safety person is an active presenter as it not only serves as the introduction to the person and his or her responsibilities but also provides the opportunity to discuss process and expectations so that all team stakeholders have a clear understanding prior to the season commencing.

Resources Available:

  • Preseason safety person meeting agenda  

Standard 9 - Every player has completed a medical information form

Having the right information about a player’s health that is readily available serves two purposes. First, it allows for the proactive management of any issues, accommodations, or requirements while participating. Second, it provides the necessary information to those medical experts that may need to manage a situation should one occur if the participant or parent/guardian cannot.

Resources Available:

  • Fillable Hockey Canada Medical information form