Thursday, June 20, 2019
Dear USA Hockey coach,
You recently received a summary of several significant changes to the USA Hockey SafeSport Program. This note includes additional specific information pertinent to coaches, including related to SafeSport Training requirements for all youth hockey coaches and players in some age classifications, mandatory reporting, and the Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies. Thank you for your dedication to USA Hockey programs and efforts to keep our participants safe and our programs free from misconduct or abuse.
SafeSport Training for Coaches
All adult coaches of teams in classifications that may include minor participants (including Youth, Girls, High School, Junior and Disabled teams) must complete SafeSport Training prior to the coach’s participation (on-ice or off-ice) in a USA Hockey program.
Beginning this season, the training requirement must now be completed every year prior to participation each season (however, anyone who completed training in the most recent season (2018-19) will retain valid training status for 2019-20, and will complete training annually beginning in 2020-21). The training is provided by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and each coach must first complete the “Core Center for SafeSport Training,” which is completed online and takes approximately 90 – 120 minutes to complete. In subsequent seasons, coaches will need to complete the Center for SafeSport’s “Refresher Course,” which is also online and takes 30 minutes or less to complete. There is no cost to complete either training course..
SafeSport Training for Players Seventeen (17) and Over in Age Classifications that Allow Minor Age Players
If you are coaching a team in an age classification that may include both minor-age and adult-age players, it is important to know that (i) all players 17 years of age or older on or before December 31 of that playing season, and (ii) who play on a team in a classification that allows minor-age players, must complete SafeSport Training before being added to such team and prior to participation (on-ice or off-ice). USA Hockey will be communicating with those eligible players to make them aware of the requirement so that they have the opportunity to complete the training well in advance.
As a coach in USA Hockey (as with coaches and other adults in all youth sports organizations), you are considered a mandatory reporter of child abuse, including sexual abuse. Accordingly, in the event of any actual or suspected sexual misconduct or child abuse, you must report such information to the U.S. Center for SafeSport and, when appropriate, to applicable law enforcement.
Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies
The Minor Athlete Abuse Protection Policies (“MAAPP Policies”) were mandated by federal law to be put into effect by the U.S. Center for SafeSport, and are included in the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook with specific information for hockey programs. The MAAPP Policies are prevention policies to prohibit and/or avoid situations where risks of misconduct can occur, including:
• One-on-One Interactions. This policy prohibits one-on-one interactions between adult members of USA Hockey or those authorized by a USA Hockey program to have regular contact with or authority over minors, unless they occur at an observable and interruptible distance by another adult. There are exceptions for emergency circumstances. The policy specifically addresses situations where these types of interactions might occur, including in meetings with a player, in individual training sessions and in settings outside the hockey program.
• Locker Rooms. USA Hockey’s existing Locker Room Policy was updated. Proper supervision of locker rooms is one of the most important means of preventing misconduct between hockey players and eliminating opportunities for abuse of minor participants.
• Athletic Training Modalities. This policy ensures that any type of athletic training, including massages, rubdowns, taping, etc., occurs in an open and interruptible location.
• Social Media and Electronic Communications. This policy has been updated. All electronic communication from a coach to a minor player must be professional in nature. Absent emergency circumstances, if a coach needs to communicate directly with a minor player via electronic communications (including social media), the minor’s parent must be copied.
• Travel. Travel is a high risk time for misconduct to occur. USA Hockey’s travel policy has been updated for both “local travel” (transportation and travel to and from local practices, games and events) and “organization/team travel” (travel away from the home area and may include overnight stays in a hotel for games or tournaments). Except in the case of emergency, coaches may not ride in a vehicle alone, travel alone with or share a hotel or sleeping arrangement with an unrelated minor participant.
A revised copy of the USA Hockey SafeSport Program Handbook can be found at the USA Hockey website at www.usahockey.com/safesportprogram. Please refer to the SafeSport Handbook for details of these and other policies affecting USA Hockey programs. You can also reach out to your Affiliate SafeSport Coordinator or to USA Hockey if you have questions or need assistance.
Thank you again for all of your efforts in support of the safety of participants in USA Hockey programs.