Latest incident of 'hockey dad rage' shows there's still work to be done
A minor hockey dad in Winnipeg became a YouTube "sensation" recently after his verbal tirade at his son's hockey game was videoed and posted to the Internet.
The video showed the dad, Jason Boyd, reacting angrily to a referee's penalty call against his son's team and calling the injured opponent a "midget," suggesting it wouldn't have been a head hit if the player had been taller. That led to a confrontation with the injured player's father during which Boyd threatened physical violence against the other dad.
Boyd later offered a public apology for his behaviour, but the incident is the latest episode of "Hockey Parents Behaving Badly." Such incidents arise from time to time and serve as a reminder that parents need to keep their cool when attending their children's sports events. Sure, emotions can rise during the heat of the contest, but it's the adults who should be setting a good example of sportsmanship and proper behaviour.
Hockey Canada offers a downloadable Minor Hockey Toolbox for Parents which includes guidelines on dealing with "problem parent behaviour." There's also a list called "The ABC's of Hockey Parents of Value," which encourages parents to accept, among others things, "losses along with the wins" and "the decisions of officials, coaches, etc."
A few years ago, Hockey Canada conducted an educational program aimed at parents called "Relax, It's Just a Game." The program included public service announcements featuring such titles as "Angry Father," "Angry Mother" and "Dad Fight." Perhaps that program needs to be resurrected.
Hockey Canada's Policy and Procedures Manual even contains a section dealing with unruly parents. The section, Code of Conduct (Parents), states, "Any parent of a Hockey Canada player whose conduct in an arena is legitimately deemed to be disruptive and not conducive to the well-being of the game, may be banned from such arena(s) as determined by the jurisdiction, Branch/Association, for a specified period of time."
It's too bad such regulations are needed to control the behaviour of adults at minor hockey games. Adults are supposed to be the mature ones, but clearly, that's not always the case.
Minor hockey is intended to provide a fun and positive experience for the kids and youths who take part. Adults in the minor hockey setting, whether they be parents or coaches, need to strive to make sure that happens.
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