The Salmon Arm Minor Hockey Association won’t be requiring parents to take a Respect in Sport course, but the president of the association says it is already taking action to combat over-zealous hockey parents.
In part because of a violent incident in the stands at the Sicamous arena during a game between a Salmon Arm and Penticton team, the Penticton Minor Hockey Association has decided that before players are able to step on the ice next season, one of their parents/guardians will have to complete the Respect in Sport course.
In January, both Penticton and Salmon Arm’s associations investigated a fight between fans in the stands and RCMP were involved. No charges were laid.
PMHA is following the example of the Kamloops Minor Hockey Association and Alberta Hockey in requiring the online course for parents. Kamloops has reported incidents have declined since the requirements were put in place.
“I think that by parents taking the course and seeing some of the questions and there are some videos they have to watch, I think by actually seeing it makes them think,” said Val Fulton, vice-president of the PMHA.
Parents can be tracked to see if they have completed the course through the Hockey Canada registry.
Salmon Arm Minor Hockey president Tim Giandomenico says Salmon Arm will not be making it a requirement, as it already has a proactive policy in place.
“We are already meeting with the parents on each team at the beginning of the season and have a discussion about what is appropriate behaviour and what is not,” says Giandomenico. “We give them hand-out material and, should there be an issue down the road, we are prepared to deal with it by talking with those individuals involved.”
Giandomenico says he foresees the national hockey associations eventually making a respect in sport course mandatory for all parents.
“I think it is coming. This is a game known for passionate parents and when their kids score or play or get injured, there are all realms of feelings involved and with those ups and downs, sometimes people don’t acts as they normally do,” he said.
“But I can’t say it has been a big problem for us. Any issues have been dealt with quickly, so it doesn’t get into a bigger situation.”
-With files from Penticton Western News