USA HOCKEY SAFESPORT PROGRAM
The safety of its participants is of paramount importance to USA Hockey. This includes not only on-ice safety, but also off-ice safety in any part of USA Hockey’s programs.
USA Hockey has long had systems in place to protect its participants from physical abuse, sexual abuse and other types of abuse and misconduct that can be harmful to youth hockey players. These include without limitation Physical Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Screening, Locker Room Supervision and Hazing Policies, in addition to Codes of Conduct applicable to administrators, coaches, officials, parents, players and spectators. The USA Hockey SafeSport Handbook is intended to update and collect USA Hockey’s various policies to protect its youth participants from all types of misconduct and abuse.
USA Hockey has ZERO TOLERANCE for abuse and misconduct.
USA Hockey provides online training/education that is available to help members become aware of the information necessary to help prevent abuse from occurring in the sport of hockey. All USA Hockey registered coaches, skills coaches, officials, employees, locker room monitors, travel chaperones, billet families and any off-ice trainers (all adults who are around the players) and volunteers MUST COMPLETE this SafeSport training. Any hockey player born in 2002 or older must also complete SafeSport Training before being added to the roster. The SafeSport Training is FREE when you enter through the NGB Training area on the SafeSport website - select USA HOCKEY for your membership - and enter your USA Hockey member number.
SafeSport Program Training
Starting with the 2013-14 all USA Hockey registered coaches, officials, employees and volunteers were strongly encouraged to complete the SafeSport Program training.
The SafeSport Training and Refresher Training are each valid for one (1) season beginning on 4/1/19. Please Note: if you took the training during the 2018-19 season, it is still valid for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons.
Once you have completed the Core SafeSport Course, there will be a Refresher Course available for individuals who have previously completed the core SafeSport course and need to recertify. Users completing the SafeSport refresher course will be certified for an additional season.
PLEASE NOTE that you will need your own USA Hockey Confirmation Number or Referee Number and your own email address to access the training. You can locate your number OR obtain a number here www.usahockeyregistration.com. If you will not be participating as a player, coach or referee, you can register at no cost under the ice manager/volunteer category to obtain your USA Hockey Confirmation Number.
This SafeSport Handbook includes the various Policies that apply to all USA Hockey Member Programs. Those Policies address
Bullying, Threats and Harassment
The Policies also address areas where misconduct can occur and are intended to reduce the risk of potential abuse, including:
Locker Room Policy
Social Media, Mobile and Electronic Communications Policy
In addition to Policies, the Safe Sport Handbook includes the available and required Training of USA Hockey’s and its Member Programs’ employees, volunteers, administrators, coaches, parents and players on recognizing and reducing circumstances for potential abuse to occur; information on USA Hockey’s Screening and Background Check Program; the availability and procedures for any person to Report suspected abuse or misconduct (including protections from any retaliation or repercussions for such reporting); the procedures and means by which USA Hockey and its Member Programs should Respond to allegations of abuse and misconduct; and how USA Hockey and its Member Programs will Monitor and Supervise the SafeSport Program to help ensure its effectiveness.
By combining all of these elements into a comprehensive SafeSport Program, USA Hockey intends to create the safest possible environment for participation in hockey.
It is the policy of USA Hockey that there shall be no sexual abuse of any minor involved in any of its Member Programs by an employee, volunteer, independent contractor or another participant. Sexual abuse of a minor occurs when an adult employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant touches a minor for the purpose of causing the sexual arousal or gratification of either the minor or the employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant. Sexual abuse of a minor also occurs when a minor touches an employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant for the sexual arousal or sexual gratification of either the minor or the employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant, if the touching occurs at the request or with the consent of the employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant.
Sexual contact between or among children also can be abusive if there is a significant disparity in age, development, or size, rendering the younger child incapable of giving informed consent, if there is the existence of an aggressor, or where these is an imbalance of power and/or intellectual capabilities. The sexually abusive acts may include sexual penetration, sexual touching, or non-contact sexual acts such as exposure or voyeurism.
Neither consent of the minor to the sexual contact, mistake as to the participant’s age, nor the fact that the sexual contact did not take place at a hockey function are defenses to a complaint of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse may also occur between adults or to an adult. Sexual abuse includes sexual interactions that are nonconsensual or accomplished by force or threat of force, or coerced or manipulated, regardless of the age of the participants.
Sexual abuse may also include non-touching offenses, such as sexually harassing behaviors; an adult discussing his/her sex life with a minor; an adult asking a minor about his/her sex life; an adult requesting or sending nude or partial dress photo to minor; exposing minors to pornographic material; sending minors sexually explicit electronic messages or photos (e.g. “sexting”); deliberately exposing a minor to sexual acts; or deliberately exposing a minor to inappropriate nudity.
Without limiting the above, any act or conduct described as sexual abuse, sexual misconduct or child sexual abuse under applicable federal or state law constitutes sexual abuse under this Policy.
Any USA Hockey member who engages in any act of sexual abuse or misconduct is subject to appropriate disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension, permanent suspension, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities.
It is the policy of USA Hockey that there shall be no physical abuse of any participant involved in any of its Member Programs by any employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant. Physical abuse means physical contact with a participant that intentionally causes or has the potential to cause the participant to sustain bodily harm or personal injury. Physical abuse also includes physical contact with a participant that intentionally creates a threat of immediate bodily harm or personal injury. Physical abuse may also include intentionally hitting or threatening to hit an athlete with objects or sports equipment.
In addition to physical contact or the threat of physical contact with a participant, physical abuse also includes the providing of alcohol to a participant under the age of consent and the providing of illegal drugs or nonprescribed medications to any participant.
Without limiting the above, any act or conduct described as physical abuse or misconduct under applicable federal or state law constitutes physical abuse under this Policy.
Physical abuse does not include physical contact that is reasonably designed to coach, teach, demonstrate or improve a hockey skill, including physical conditioning, team building and appropriate discipline. Permitted physical conduct may include, but is not necessarily limited to, shooting pucks at a goaltender, demonstrating checking and other hockey skills, and communicating with or directing participants during the course of a game or practice by touching or moving them in a non-threatening, non-sexual manner.
Any USA Hockey member who engages in any act of physical abuse is subject to appropriate disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension, permanent suspension, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities.
It is the policy of USA Hockey that there shall be no emotional abuse of any participant involved in any of its Member Programs by an employee, volunteer, independent contractor or other participant. Emotional abuse involves a pattern of deliberate, non-contact behavior that has the potential to cause emotional or psychological harm to a participant. These behaviors may include verbal acts, physical acts or acts that deny attention or support.
Examples of emotional abuse prohibited by this Policy include, without limitation: a pattern of (a) verbal behaviors that (i) attack a participant personally by, e.g., calling them worthless, fat, or disgusting; or (ii) repeatedly and excessively yelling at a particular participant or participants in a manner that serves no productive motivational purpose; and (b) physically aggressive behaviors, such as (i) throwing sport equipment, water bottles, or chairs at participants; or (ii) punching walls, windows, or other objects.
Emotional abuse does not include generally-accepted and age appropriate coaching methods of skill enhancement, physical conditioning, motivation, team building, appropriate discipline, or improving athletic performance.
A USA Hockey member who engages in any act of emotional abuse is subject to appropriate disciplinary action including but not limited to suspension, permanent suspension, and/or referral to law enforcement authorities.
Note: Bullying, threats, harassment, and hazing, defined below, often involve some form of emotional misconduct.