HOCKEY NEW BRUNSWICK – UPDATE

Given recent issues surrounding Hockey Canada, it is important for Hockey New Brunswick (HNB) to outline the steps our organization is taking to address the culture challenges the game is faced with.

HNB is committed to serving its membership, and we are focused on delivering upon our mission of being a leader in developing positive lifestyles, inclusive communities, and opportunities through hockey. 

There are four initiatives in particular that the organization is currently focused on: Working with subject matter experts, inclusive programming, educational programming and fair play / respect.

  1. SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS

In order to truly make hockey a sport for everyone, it is necessary to both learn and educate. HNB has been consulting with subject matter experts in the areas of equity, diversity and inclusion, sexual violence, and investigations. This expertise will help move us forward towards our goals.

Equity, Diversity & Inclusion – Normand Hector

Normand Hector will lead equity, diversity, and inclusion workshops for HNB teams and volunteers. 

Normand is a motivational speaker and leader in New Brunswick. He brings his unique life perspectives gained from more than 25 years of experience. His workshops focus on making sports more inclusive, improvements that need to be made, how sports can cater the differences of people and ideas to promote diversity awareness. Normand takes pride in having tough conversations and answering the tougher questions, while everyone involved understands it’s a safe space to share and learn. Normand is a member of the black queer community and his performing persona spreads messages about acceptance for all.

Sexual Violence New Brunswick / White Ribbon Fredericton 

Hockey New Brunswick is working in consultation with Sexual Violence New Brunswick and White Ribbon Fredericton to look at training and education opportunities as well as policy review.

The focus of the training will be on educating the leaders within HNB and equipping them to intervene when they see and hear behaviours that form the foundation of rape culture as well as modelling intolerance of these behaviours.

The policy review will be a robust and comprehensive review and update of HNB’s policies and procedures regarding sexual violence.

Investigations - Infopowered Solutions Inc / UNB Law

All on-ice allegations of discrimination, as per Hockey Canada Rule 11.4, are investigated by Hockey New Brunswick.

Infopowered Solutions Inc. with support from University of New Brunswick Law students will act as a third party and lead all investigations. By partnering with a third party, we will ensure consistency and provide procedural fairness for both the complainant and the respondent. These allegations are often complex issues that require professional expertise.

2.                  INCLUSION PROGRAMS

Hockey New Brunswick’s mission statement is, "A leader in developing positive lifestyles, inclusive communities and opportunities through hockey." We aim to embody this mission with everything we do as an organization.

A priority for HNB is to offer inclusive programming. We have created a neurodiverse program in Dieppe and an NHL/NHLPA First Shift Para Hockey program in Fredericton as pilot programs this season and are highly encouraged by the reception so far.

The neurodiverse program includes 10 on-ice sessions for youth between the ages of 5-17 and is open to all neurodiverse youth with no previous hockey or skating experience required. The program is free of charge. 

The NHL/NHLPA First Shift Para Hockey program is for participants 6-18 years old. Participants will receive a full set of hockey equipment, sled rental and six on-ice sessions beginning in November. The program is free of charge.

3.                  COACH, VOLUNTEER & PARENT EDUCATION 

The current requirements for coaches, volunteers and parents are as follows:

Coaches:

Volunteers:

Teams:

Parents:

HNB staff and board members:

In an effort to establish a training framework for Hockey Canada and its members a Training Needs Analysis is underway. The goal is to review the current state of training, understanding customer needs and how to provide the right training to target audiences, that will assist with building behaviours that will change the culture of the game.

4.                  FAIR PLAY & RESPECT 

HNB will continue working with minor hockey associations and their respective volunteers, with a focus on the following areas:

Respect towards officials

It is our collective responsibility as coaches, players, spectators, volunteers and fans to ensure officials are treated with respect. In the 2021-2022 season, 93 suspensions were issued as a result of "disrespectful/abusive behaviour towards an official." This is not acceptable, and Hockey New Brunswick and the New Brunswick Hockey Officials Association will be reviewing potential educational programs and policy changes to remove these actions from our game.

Fair Play Codes

The Fair Play Codes need to be reviewed regularly and followed by players, parents, spectators, coaches, officials and organizers. The following areas in particular should be noted:

  • All players will receive equal playing time
  • Respect the officials’ decisions and encourage participants to do the same
  • Give positive comments that motivate and encourage continued effort
  • Remember that winning isn’t everything – that having fun, improving skills, making friends, and doing my best are also important

Hockey New Brunswick as an organization is committed to driving cultural change for the betterment of the game. Although this process will take time, we are dedicated to working with subject matter experts, listening to our members, learning about how we can adapt, and taking the necessary steps to create a more equitable, welcoming, and safe hockey community for all.