CORNER BROOK A little respect will be expected during this new Corner Brook Minor Hockey Association campaign.
Offered the past two years on a voluntary basis, completing the Respect in Sport online certification program is now mandatory for parents registering their children to play minor hockey this year. Back in 2009, the local hockey association was actually the first sports group in Atlantic Canada to implement the initiative — co-founded by former NHLer Sheldon Kennedy and Wayne McNeil.
“We’ve had over 100 parents complete it voluntarily,” said CBMHA president Susan Power. “It went over very well.”
No one seems to have a problem with it being made mandatory either.
“Not one negative comment so far,” Power said.
The approximately one-hour course focuses on a variety of topics, including player development and interaction with children, coaches and other parents. It is designed as a tool to assist parents in identifying and dealing with abuse, neglect, harassment and bullying in sport.
Power realizes parents are busy people, but the course is designed to accommodate that.
“You can start it, and then leave and go wash the dishes and come back,” she said. “You can leave it for a week and come back, you can leave it for 30 days.”
After 30 days, Power said, the website would log the parent out and they’d need to log back in to do it all again.
She stressed the program isn’t just for hockey — it crosses all boundaries of sport.
“It’s soccer, badminton, gymnastics ... it teaches parents to respect the officials, the players and themselves,” she said. “It just makes you think, that’s all.”
Power has witnessed firsthand the positive transformation in several parents who took the course, although she says there haven’t ever really been any “major” incidents in the stands. Many times people were completely unaware their behaviour was unacceptable until taking the course.
“A couple of parents really needed it, we kind of tapped them on the shoulder and said ‘Maybe you should look at doing it,’” Power said. “They did it and came back and went, ‘I didn’t realize I was even doing that.’
“Sometimes you get caught up in the heat of the moment — you’re into the game and you don’t think about it,” she added. “This gives you a chance to step back and think.”
Hockey mom Michelle Chaulk, who was at the Pepsi Centre to register her son Jordan Cull into the peewee division on Monday night, hasn’t yet completed the course, but plans to do so soon.
“I think all kids should show respect, and parents as well,” Chaulk said. “Sometimes things can get a little bit crazy out there.”
Like Power, Chaulk doesn’t think there’s a problem of epidemic proportions in this city, but says it still varies depending on the age of the kids involved.
“I think the higher the division, the worse it is,” she said. “The younger the kids are, I don’t think you see it quite as much.
“It’s not too bad here, not that I’ve seen,” she added. “But I’ve heard horror stories of other places.”
Minor hockey registration numbers, meanwhile, are about on par with last season, according to Power.
“The numbers are looking good,” she said. “We’re looking even better than last year in some of our divisions.”
Registration continues from 7-9 p.m. tonight at the Pepsi Centre.