Hockey Canada has introduced a new policy for the 2021/2022 aimed at making hockey a safer more inclusive sport for all. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Hockey Canada has introduced a new policy for the 2021/2022 aimed at making hockey a safer more inclusive sport for all. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Hockey Canada enforces ‘maltreatment’ rule intended to stop discrimination on ice

“I think players and coaches really need to read up on it,” WLMHA president Mike Rispin

Hockey Canada and its affiliated members are enforcing a new maltreatment playing rule for the 2021/2022 hockey season in an effort to clean up the game.

Section 11 has already resulted in some players in B.C.’s north-central region facing disciplinary action, said Williams Lake Minor Hockey Association (WLMHA) president Mike Rispin.

“I think players and coaches really need to read up on it,” said Rispin. “I’m not saying you can’t chirp and have fun and razz the other team, I’m saying … talk to your kids, make sure they know what they can and cannot say.”

Intended to address incidents on ice, ‘Section 11 – Maltreatment’ was unanimously adopted by Hockey Canada and its 13 members June 22. The aim is to bring all forms of maltreatment, including abuse and racism, under one section of the rulebook and provide guidelines for escalating penalties based on the severity of the inappropriate behaviour from players and team officials.

“Hockey Canada has made a firm commitment to making the game safe and inclusive for all who wish to participate, and the introduction of Section 11 provides our 13 members, local hockey associations and officials across the country with clearly-defined criteria for enforcing rules related to many different forms of inappropriate conduct,” Tom Renney, chief executive officer of Hockey Canada, said in a news release on Hockey Canada’s website. “We believe this is a great step towards ensuring we limit the number of incidents that occur on and off the ice, and will allow players of all ages to enjoy our game free from abuse, discrimination, racism and all forms of maltreatment.”

Certain infractions will include an indefinite suspension pending a hearing, as well mandatory hearings for repeat offenders. Hockey Canada and its members also approved a new national reporting system for incidents of discriminatory taunts, insults or intimidation, both on the ice and outside of game play. The new rule and reporting system includes, but is not limited to, discrimination based on race, ethnic origin, skin colour, religion, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability.

Derogatory comments relating to race or sexual orientation, for example, will not be tolerated, Rispin said.

“The penalties are severe. If you get caught saying any of those things on the ice now it’s an indefinite suspension while they do an investigation … what was considered normal before is not normal anymore.”

Hockey Canada Rule 11.4 – Discrimination

“Any player, goaltender or team official who engages in verbal taunts, insults or intimidation based on discriminatory grounds shall be assessed a Gross Misconduct penalty. Discriminatory grounds include the following, without limitation:

Race, national or ethnic origin, skin colour or language spoken;

Religion, faith or beliefs;

Age;

Sex, sexual orientation or gender identity / expression;

Marital or familial status;

Genetic characteristics;

Disability.

The Referee shall report the individual(s) by completing a Game Incident Report including full details and submitting the

Report to the appropriate Member or League delegate.”

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