Hockey is a fast paced sport that requires a unique set of skills, and due to these factors, injuries can sometimes occur. As a leader in your association, there are many ways to reduce the impact of an injury, including a focus on respect, skill development, understanding injury management, and supporting the appropriate Return to Play method. This month’s newsletter will focus on how to navigate through injuries in the game.
There are a number of ways to prevent injuries, but the main thing to instill in your players is respect – respect for the players, respect for the officials, and respect for the rules. As a team safety person, trainer, and/or coach, the example you set will go a long way in the prevention of an injury. Another important aspect in the prevention of injuries is focusing on appropriate skill development and behaviours. Coaches should ensure that their players are learning the foundational skills of the game such as skating, positioning/angling, stick responsibility, and contact confidence. These behaviours transfer to off ice activities as well, such as proper training and stretching. Finally, ensuring that equipment is appropriately fitted and used properly is key in injury prevention. Hockey Alberta’s Concussion page provides more information on how to prevent injuries, and while it is concussion focused, the same principles can be applied to general injury prevention.
Information on injury prevention can be found under the “Prevention” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Concussion Page >
Information on appropriate skill development can be found under the “Development” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Coach Resource Page >
Information on stretching, warm up, cool down and equipment fitting can be found under the “Health and Safety” banner on Hockey Alberta’s Parent Page >
When an Injury Occurs
While we strive to prevent injuries in the game as much as possible, unfortunately they will sometimes occur. Knowing how to manage an injury situation is one of the most important roles of the team safety person or trainer. When an injury occurs, the team safety person or trainer needs to determine the right course of action in a quick time frame. Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada have created resources to help assist in managing the situation, including a flow chart showing how to assess managing an injury, the emergency action plan, and injury specific information, such as the concussion recognition tool.
Information on injury management, including the injury assessment flow chart, can be found under the “Injury Management” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person Page >
Information of the Concussion Recognition Tool can be found under the “Recognize” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Concussion Page >
Information on the Emergency Action Plan can be found under the “Emergency Action Plan” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person Page >
Returning to Play
Getting an athlete back on the ice is an important part of injury management, however it must be done properly to minimize the long term effects of an injury. Conflicts often arise between the athlete, parents, and/or coaches wishes and the best interests of the athlete, but following the proper return to play protocols can help the team safety person or trainer with this struggle. While there are many types of injuries that can occur in a game, some of the key principles in returning to play are universal. It is a gradual progression that starts with daily activities and ends when the athlete is completely comfortable participating in the game without any signs, symptoms, or pain. Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta have created resources to help assist in a successful Return to Play, including the steps from returning from a concussion, which can be applied to other significant injuries, Return to Play forms to help in managing the steps, and videos explaining the process.
Information on returning from a concussion can be found under the “Return to Play” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Concussion Page >
Information on the general return to play process can be found under the “Injury Management” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person Page >
One expectation that is often missed when there is an injury is the submission of a completed Hockey Canada Injury Report form. It is often believed that the only time this form should be filled out is if the person is accessing the Hockey Canada Insurance Program, however this assumption is incorrect. This form is important because it provides documentation that an event has occurred, which helps if long term consequences appear, and provides valuable information to both Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada on injury trends, which helps provide direction on safety decisions. Some common areas that are missed when completing this form include: health insurance information, team information, and the signed release of medical information.
The Hockey Canada Injury Report form and injury reporting log can be found under the “Injury Management” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person Page >
Hockey Canada Insurance Program
Hockey Canada created the Hockey Canada Insurance Program to help ensure that adequate financial resources are in place should an injury occur during a sanctioned event. As a registered player, team official, or on ice official, you are able to access coverage through this program, including medical and dental. Hockey Alberta has created an insurance handout to highlight the program, the coverage available, and the process for submitting a claim.
Information on the Hockey Canada Insurance Program can be found under the “Insurance” button on the Hockey Alberta Safety Management Page >
Hockey Alberta’s Insurance Overview Handout can be found under the “Insurance Forms” link on the Insurance Information Page >
Hockey is back!
Even with some new modifications this year, it is still exciting to get the season started. The foundation of a successful year starts with good planning. Just like how coaches build a season plan, the team safety person should also be building a season plan to ensure that our participants remain safe and enjoy this great game. This month’s safety newsletter focuses on planning your season from the safety perspective.
Emergency Action Plan
One of the most important plans your team will make this season is your emergency action plan. This plan is vital in ensuring that if and when an incident should occur, your team is prepared and efficient while managing the situation. Both Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta have prepared a number of resources to help the team safety person prepare a plan for his or her team, including descriptions about the plan and required roles, templates for planning, and an informative video showing the execution of an Emergency Action Plan.
Information on the Emergency Action Plan can be found under the “Emergency Action Plan” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person page >
Preparation is an important factor that leads to a successful team environment. Coaches use the team’s preseason meeting to communicate philosophies and set expectations. Part of this meeting should be dedicated to discussing how the team will create a safe environment for the players. Key topics that should be covered include the roles and responsibilities of the Team Safety Person, your team’s Emergency Action Plan, expectations around injury management, and the collection of medical information. Hockey Alberta has created resources on preseason preparation, including videos from last year’s Minor Hockey Association Safety Leader training day that covers things to consider in your preseason meeting.
Information on preseason safety preparation can be found under the “Preparation” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person page >
First Aid Kits
A sometimes neglected part of the team safety person’s arsenal is a properly stocked medical/first aid kit, which is key to help manage the wide range of injuries that may occur during a game. As an association, it is important to review the contents of your kits prior to them being assigned to your teams, and ensure that there is an adequate number of supplies and that they have not expired. Some of the more common items that should be reviewed include: bandages, sanitizer/wipes, and gloves, as these are the most common items used during the season. Hockey Canada has provided a checklist that identifies the contents of a properly stocked medical kit. If your association is lacking stocked medical kits Hockey Alberta has partnered with Vereburn Medical Supply to provide members preferred rates on first aid kits.
A first aid kit checklist can be found under the “Preparation” tab on Hockey Alberta’s Team Safety Person page >
Information on the first aid/medical kits provided by Vereburn Medical Supply and how to order them can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Medical Kit page >
Hockey Alberta has compiled numerous resources in one spot to help our members build a safe and fun environment for all of our participants. Hockey Alberta’s Safety Management page is designed to provide the required information to ensure that both the association and team safety person can fulfill his or her role successfully. In this section you will find information on such topics as concussions, the Hockey Canada Insurance Program, risk management and Hockey Alberta created content such as the Hockey Alberta Concussion Presentation and safety videos. Check back regularly for new content as the season goes on.
Safety resources can be found on Hockey Alberta’s Safety Management page >
Information on Hockey Alberta’s Concussion Presentation can be found under "Resources" on Hockey Alberta’s Concussion page >
Return to Hockey
With new guidelines in place, this is a reminder of the important role the team safety person will play in ensuring the game continues to operate safely this season. As a team safety person, some specific things that you can do include: educating players and parents on proper hygiene, working with coaches to support physical distancing and cohort practices, communicating the importance of staying at home should someone experience symptoms, and ensuring someone has tracked attendance for all team activities. In addition, the Return to Hockey plan is continually evolving with the changing COVID-19 situation, so designating a person to act as a central communicator at the association and team level is very beneficial. Section three of Hockey Alberta’s Return to Play Plan outlines more information regarding protocols and safety, section four outlines communications, and section five outlines facility and spectator considerations. Check back regularly to Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey page as the Return to Hockey Plan is updated frequently.
Hockey Alberta’s updated Return to Hockey plan can be found HERE >
Thank you for your dedication to ensuring the game is safe for our participants. Your dedication helps to provide in a safe and fun environment for everyone. As we embark on a new season, albeit in a different fashion than we are used to, Hockey Alberta would like to introduce the first Safety Newsletter of the season.
Return to Hockey
Ensuring a safe environment is the foundation of a successful return to hockey. As part of Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey Plan, Hockey Alberta and Hockey Canada have developed specific guidelines related to ensuring that all participants remain safe upon their return to hockey. A successful return to hockey will require commitment from all participants in the game. As a team safety person, some specific things that can be done to ensure this include: educating players and parents on proper hygiene, working with coaches to support physical distancing and cohort practices, communicating the importance of staying at home should someone experience symptoms, and ensuring someone has tracked attendance for all team activities. In addition, communication is key as this plan is evolving with the changing COVID-19 situation, so designating a person to act as a central communicator at the association and team level is very beneficial. Section three of Hockey Alberta’s Return to Play Plan outlines more information regarding protocols and safety, section four outlines communications, and section five outlines facility and spectator considerations. Check back regularly to Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey page as the Return to Hockey Plan is updated frequently.
Hockey Alberta’s Return to Hockey can be found by following this link - https://www.hockeyalberta.ca/members/return-hockey/
Once again this season Hockey Alberta will be offering the Hockey Alberta Concussion Presentation. This two hour interactive presentation delivered by industry professionals is designed for parents, coaches, administrators, and athletes to provide a consistent message on concussions and concussion management. Key topics covered include: recognition of a concussion and its causes, what to do if a concussion is suspected, how to properly recover from a concussion, and the expected return to play protocols. This presentation will be offered virtually for the 2020-21 season.
Information on the presentation and how to book one can be found by following this link - https://www.hockeyalberta.ca/concussion-safety-seminar/
Vereburn First Aid Kits
One piece of equipment that can become neglected are First Aid kits provided to teams by the association. Outdated, expired, or missing supplies can hamper your teams safety person or trainer from being able to manage a situation appropriately. Hockey Alberta is proud to announce a partnership with Vereburn Medical Supply to provide Hockey Alberta members with the opportunity to buy first aid kits at a discounted price. The goal of this partnership is to provide our members the opportunity to access the appropriate first aid kit to meet their team’s needs. Vereburn Medical Supply has created two packages to choose from. The elite package is designed to meet the needs of our elite teams, while the basic package will meet the needs of our tiered and recreational teams. In addition, Vereburn can provide restocking options for these kits as supplies are used.
Information on the kits and how to order them can be found by following this link - https://www.hockeyalberta.ca/members/safety-management/medical-kit-orders/
Hockey Alberta has created a central location for all safety related information on our website. Here you will find information and resources on a number of topics including concussions, on and off ice safety, and insurance. In addition, resources dedicated to the Minor Hockey Association Safety Person role can be found here, including last year’s presentation on leading within your association. As Hockey Alberta continues to collect and develop information and resources, it will be added to this section of the website.
The Hockey Alberta safety section can be found by following this link - https://www.hockeyalberta.ca/members/safety-management/recent/
Based on the feedback received at the end of last season, Hockey Alberta has decided to change some aspects of the Safety Newsletter. This season, rather than a biweekly newsletter that covered one topic, the newsletter will now be a monthly feature with more topics covered. If you have questions, comments, or suggestions that you would like to see as topics for this newsletter please do not hesitate to contact Jeremy Haluschak ([email protected]) at Hockey Alberta office.