VICTORIA, BC -- Canadian Hockey's Board of directors approved a $300,000 education and awareness campaign aimed at eliminating harassment and abuse in hockey at the sport governing body's annual general meeting here over the Victoria Day long weekend.
The campaign, to be launched at the beginning of the 1997-98 hockey season, urges all participants to speak out against all forms of harassment and abuse -- emotional, physical and sexual. Educational material -- brochures for the 10-13 age group, another for the 14-20 category and a guide for parents and guardians -- will be distributed, along with promotional posters.
The brochure for the 10-13 age group is designed in the form of a puck and provides examples to help the young players understand what abuse and what to do if they encounter it.
'A coach forces you to play when you're hurt -- this is abuse,' is one message. 'An older person tries to touch you sexually -- this is sexual abuse. Another player keeps insulting you because of your skin colour -- this is harassment.'
The campaign slogan is 'Speak Out', with players being urged to dial the toll-free Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) or contact the services's Internet Web site to report instances of harassment and abuse, or just to talk.
The guide for parents provides more detailed information on sexual predators and other forms of abusers, as well as how to recognize abuses and vulnerable situations. The guide urges parents, above all, to listen to their children, and believe them if they describe abusive incidents. It also stresses that all adults have a legal duty to report to legal or social service authorities if there are concerns about abuse or neglect of children.
The brochures and the guide were developed for Canadian Hockey by Judi Fairholm, Coordinator, Abuse Prevention Services, for the Canadian Red Cross Society in New Westminster, BC, and Sally Spilhaus, the Advisor, Rights and Responsibilities at Montreal's Concordia University.
Fairholm and Spilhaus are members of Canadian Hockey's Sub-committee on Harassment and Abuse, chaired by Sheldon Lanchbery, of Deloraine, MB. Lanchbery said Canadian Hockey will perform criminal-record checks on all full-time staff, volunteers who act in an official capacity, as well as coaches, trainers and managers for Canada's National teams.
Canadian Hockey also is urging its branches and the minor hockey associations across the country to conduct criminal record checks where possible. Equally important, Canadian Hockey is urging its members to thoroughly research individuals who apply for coaching and other positions.
The hockey-governing body also named a new chairman on the weekend -- Bob MacKinnon of Oakville, ON who replaces Frank Lento of Fernie, BC. MacKinnon will hold the position for a two-year term.
Seven other positions on the Board of Directors were voted on at the final plenary of the AGM, including the Executive Vice-Chairman, which was claimed by Wayne Russell of St. John's, NF.
Four vice-chairs-at-large were returned: Don Brown of the Ottawa District Hockey Association; Don Butorac of Etobicoke; Lanchbery of Manitoba and Allan Matthews of Williams Lake, BC.
The new Canadian Hockey referee-in-chief is Maurice Roy of Grand Falls, NB, while Lento, the outgoing chairman, was elected Director, International Operations.
Canadian Hockey also presented its volunteer awards, with the Gordon Juckes Award for outstanding contribution to hockey going to Pat Doherty of the Ontario Hockey Federation
Dick Nichols of the Thunder Bay Amateur Hockey Association was named Volunteer-of-the-Year, while Don Schmaltz of the British Columbia Amateur Hockey Association and Brent Ladds of the OHF were presented with Awards of Merit for their strong efforts in support of the game of hockey in Canada.