RICHMOND HILL, Ontario – Don Cherry has been the voice of Hockey Night in Canada’s Coaches Corner for over 24 years and also a long-time supporter of minor hockey. Today, Cherry is giving more than his voice towards a hockey safety initiative; he is personally funding the STOP Program helmet decal project.
“I am very happy to be working with the OMHA on the STOP decal program for helmets. It has been a long hard struggle, but thanks to the OMHA and guys like Ken Catania who was the driving force behind this venture, we are on our way. To have Hockey Canada and the OHF with us is as they say the “cherry on top,” says Cherry. “Let me explain why I feel this venture is so important. When a player is cross-checking a player from behind, he is looking directly at the back of the helmet where our STOP decal will be. I feel this decal will prevent a lot of injuries. If we can help one kid it is worth the effort. So come on GMs and coaches – let’s get aboard and help our kids.”
The Safety Towards Other Players (STOP) Program began in Windsor 11 years ago in hopes of raising awareness of the dangers of checking-from-behind in hockey. Led by the Ontario Minor Hockey Association, the STOP Program is now mandatory in many hockey associations around the world.
Hockey Canada, which oversees minor hockey in Canada in partnership with the 13 branches, is in full support of the STOP Program. Players and teams in each of Canada's 13 branches can take advantage of this great program to support fair and safe play.
The STOP Program helmet decal is not a replacement for the three-inch patch worn on the back of hockey jerseys above the letters. It’s another method to promote the program and awareness that checking from behind is not acceptable in hockey. The STOP Program patch and helmet decal’s purpose is a visual reminder for players for when they see the STOP symbol, they should immediately STOP from hitting the opposing player from behind.
“The OMHA strives to provide the safest environment possible for all participants, especially players,” stated OMHA President Marg Ensoll. “The STOP Program is part of the OMHA’s continuing education that checking from behind is not tolerated. We are proud to have Don Cherry help the OMHA promote this valuable program.”
STOP Program helmet decals and patches are available by contacting the Ontario Minor Hockey Association at (905) 780-6642 or by visiting www.safetytowardsotherplayers.com. There are 25 STOP Program helmet decals per sheet, sufficient for one team and for a limited time, STOP Program helmet decals are available at no charge. STOP Program patches are available for 55 cents per patch.
About the Ontario Minor Hockey Association
The Ontario Minor Hockey Association, founded in 1935, is the largest minor hockey association in the world and oversees a participant base of 300,000 consisting of players, coaches, trainers, officials, hockey volunteers and parents across the province. The OMHA has 260 active member minor hockey associations and annually coordinates 31 leagues and approximately 600 development clinics throughout Ontario. For more information, visit www.omha.net.
To learn more please contact:
Mark Dickie, Ontario Minor Hockey Association
P: (905) 780-6642, ext. 226