Respect in Sport
Calgary has become the first community in Canada to require parents of minor hockey players to take a course on respect and sportsmanship.
The program is designed to head-off incidents of rink rage, and to make the hockey arena a place where kids can have fun, and coaches and referees can work without fear of intimidation and violence.
There are 13,500 minor hockey players in Calgary, and their parents are now required to take an online training course. At least one parent from each family has to register and complete the Respect in Sport program to ensure hockey remains fun for their kids.
"We refer to it as a requirement this year and it's an online e-learning experience for the parents. It's about one hour and ten minutes of their time, from the comfort of their own computer screen at home," said Hockey Calgary President, Perry Cavanagh.
The goal is to avoid rink rage, like the case involving Bradley Derocher. The Toronto father choked his son's hockey coach until he lost consciousness when the boy was benched for missing practice. This and many other incidents have given hockey dads and moms a bad name.
CTV News spoke to Calgary hockey parents who say the online training program is a good idea.
"It's common sense, which is sometimes lacking when people get emotional, so I think it's a great idea," said Scott Patrick.
"In the last game, two boys got game misconducts over some bad behaviour and I think parents could have influence on that," said Tammy Sherrow.
"I found it to be a very good refresher program highlighting areas where respect is needed in minor sports," said April Mazur.
"I think it's a really good idea and I've seen a couple of incidents but I think it's a good tool for parents to get informed," said Jamie Stewart.
Perry Cavanagh insists 98 per cent of parents are respectful and they need the tools to influence the two per cent who are not.
"We need to protect the sanctity of our hockey rinks. These are places of pleasure as far as play is concerned, and not places where kids need to feel intimidated, threatened, bullied, or even challenged in terms of their ability to simply come to the playground and have fun," said Cavanagh.
The deadline for the online certification is October 15.
So far, about half of the parents have completed the program.
The Respect in Sport program was founded in 2004 by Wayne McNeil and former NHL hockey player Sheldon Kennedy.