Fair Play History
ISSUES THE DWMHA CONSIDERED
Parent's privileges do NOT include abuse of coaches, officials, players or any other individuals associated with minor hockey. Regardless of how the parents view minor hockey and their part in it, the DWMHA simply exists as a recreational association run by volunteers for the benefit of the young people in the Dartmouth area. In short, minor hockey is a recreation. Thus, parents pay to have their sons/daughters included into the activities of the Whaler recreation association. The payment of fees includes responsibility that all participants abide by the rules of the association.
Parents should be made aware of their rights and responsibilities, as paying participants, in order to provide as many positive guidelines for them at the beginning of a hockey season. Most parents know their rights and responsibilities. However, certain individuals can create difficulties. A few parents and/or players can influence a club, as a whole, in negative ways. It only takes one participant to negatively affect a team and to offset some positive objectives an association may have set out for their participants. Everyone has the right to join a minor hockey association. Once a participant joins that association, the rules and regulations of that association should be followed and maintained.
In order to promote a program such as Fair Play and to promote a positive set of values to parents, players, coaches and other volunteers, a strong line of communication is required between all these participants.
Players and parents should be made aware of appropriate expectations while at any rink, in the dressing rooms, and while observing competitor games. These expectations should be maintained at all rinks while representing the Dartmouth Whalers Minor Hockey Association. Appropriate expectations and behaviour are defined as respect for his/her team members, all volunteers in any team capacity, respect for any game official, and respect for his/her opponents, and other's property. No abusive, discriminatory, intimidating and/or profane language or obscene body gestures should be used by any team player and/or parent directed at any of the above groups.
Coaches and staff of any minor hockey association should attempt to provide a safe and fun learning environment for their players. All coaches should be aware that many of the boys/girls playing hockey have not the experience, nor the ability to evaluate and understand many situations in the same way as adults do. Adults should be role models for the young players.
All participant expectations should go beyond the "win-at-all-costs" attitude.
Respect for the rules, respect for the opponents, respect for the officials and their decisions, giving everyone an equal chance to participate, and maintaining self-control at all times are participant expectations to be fostered. Responsibility, honesty, integrity, fairness, respect and sportsmanship are aspects that go beyond the "win-at-all-cost" attitude.
No player has the right to vandalize or destroy other people's property (including team mates gear, locker room facilities, etc.).
GOALS OF FAIR PLAY
Inform parents, players, coaches, officials and others about their rights, privileges, and responsibilities.
Reinforce these expectations:
Develop a Fair Play program starting at the Novice and Atom levels and then grow into the other divisions as the Novice and Atom players grow and move into those divisions.
The DWMHA wished to improve upon the many positive aspects of minor hockey already existing for its participants. By initiating a Fair Play program the DWMHA attempts to lessen any existing problems and possible future problems related to negative participant conduct. Such problems are not isolated or unique to the DWMHA.
COMMITMENT TO FAIR PLAY
The following process was undertaken by the DWMHA:
The DWMHA Executive committed themselves to piloting a Fair Play type of program at the Novice and Atom levels for the 1994-1995 hockey season.
The commitment to the Fair Play concept was evident in man hours pursuing the inclusion of the Fair Play program by the DWMHA Executive from July to the beginning of the season in 1994. Costs were minimal.
The DWMHA's commitment was also evident by including the principles of the Fair Play program as selection criteria for coaches at the Novice and Atom levels.
The DWMHA financially committed itself with the purchase of generic Fair Play types of materials costing approximately $300, in order to have the pilot program start in the 1994-1995 hockey season.
The coaching staff of the Novice and Atom levels indicated a commitment to the Fair Play concept by planning meetings with their players and player parents, at the beginning of the season to explain and institute Fair Play concepts.
The Fair Play organizing group of Executive members would prepare and outline a series of interventions to be carried out during the year to promote the principles of Fair Play.
The DWMHA initiated media coverage to make public the Fair Play program. All participants, prior to the season were informed about the Fair Play program, its goals, process and activities.
DEVELOPING A FAIR PLAY PROGRAM
The main purpose of the DWMHA's fair Play program was to enhance and foster SAFETY and RESPECT, FUN, and enhance the many positive aspects of minor hockey for players, parents, coaches, officials and others involved.
There are five principles which the DWMHA would follow: Respect the rules.
Respect the opponents.
Respect the officials and their decisions.
Give everyone a chance to participate.
Maintain your self-control at all times.
The goals of the DWMHA's Fair Play program were to enhance the following in their minor hockey program with all participants:
The Fair Play program does not attempt to change the rules of the game. Fair play encourages competitiveness, but within the rules of the game.
The Dartmouth Whalers developed and introduced a set of program components into its minor hockey program which would promote the principles of Fair Play. These program components were called interventions. The implementation of the following interventions constituted the Whaler Fair Play program. The interventions were:
Revamp the Coach Selection Process to include attitude towards Fair Play, not only coaching skill level.
Organize Conditioning Sessions at the start of the season where players were NOT separated according to abilities, provide unbiased development sessions, de-emphasize evaluations of players, but emphasize fun, and follow a standard program for all groups.
Introduce into the tryout process the concept of "attitude" of players as criteria for selection to teams, not simply the skill level of the player.
Institute "Contracts/Guidelines" for players, coaches and parents. Once teams were selected, both competitive and recreational teams, every parent was provided with a team contract which had to be signed. Players on every team also received a team contract which they had to sign. In turn, the coaches provided the parents with their contract which they signed. These contracts outlined the association's rules, expectations, rights, and privileges to all the participants. Contracts are used to educate the participants regarding the rules and expectations once they join the DWMHA. If any parent, player or coach refuses to sign and participate in this process they are indicating they are not about to follow the rules of the association. Thus, they will be asked to leave the association and refunded their registration fees.
First team meetings would be held by every team once the players were assigned to a team. These meetings outline the teams activities for the season, allow for parent input into the contracts, and other items which provide everyone a clear idea of their rights, expectations, and privileges.
Pennants, banners and pins would be distributed in the rinks to advertise the Fair Play program. Fair Play banners would be hung in the rinks to continually advertise to all participants that the Whalers are a Fair Play association.
Each October at the start of the season a coaches/managers meeting for all team staffs would be held. This provides an opportunity to again reinforce the Fair Play program to team staff.
Fair Play pre-game announcements at all home games, by all teams would be read. These announcements can be developed by teams, or the Canadian hockey Association announcement can be read. The announcements set a tone for the event and again remind spectators what minor hockey is about.
A Fair Play Support Team would be formed. This team is a group of volunteers who when a Fair Play issue is brought up by any participant, would investigate the issue and work in conjunction with the executive to resolve the issues. Issue such as players not receiving their fair ice time, coaches being too hard on players, players picking on other players, inappropriate spectator behaviour at games, etc. are some types of issues the Fair Play Support Team would be called on to handle.
A Team of the Week/Month would be selected. Teams which abide by and follow the principles of Fair Play would be rewarded by a team pizza party, recognition, and other types of awards.
Team Assessment Sheets would be filled out by parents throughout the season at home games. These Sheets provide an avenue by which parents can voice their concerns and allow for their input about any aspect of the games they see. A different parent would fill out a sheet every game.
An Association Newsletter would be printed and distributed to all parents. Part of the Newsletter would include Fair Play related information to keep participants updated and also continually educate them on Fair Play.
MOST OFTEN ASKED QUESTIONS
Will Fair Play help our association? Yes - There is nothing in the program that will negatively affect a minor hockey program.
How much money did the program cost the Whalers Association? None - All expenses were covered by businesses that supported the Fair Play concept in hockey. No monies were taken from registration fees or from the general Whaler revenues.
How difficult was it to get support for the Fair Play program? All funding was easily obtained from local businesses in the Dartmouth Community to cover all costs. Any costs incurred to do the research project were covered by provincial funding. Again, no funds were used from the Whaler's general revenues.
What do the sponsors get out of supporting Fair Play? Many businesses will not support an individual hockey team or hockey event. However, the ideals of the fair Play program are positive and beneficial to minor hockey and all its participants. Sponsors considered their association with the Fair Play program as a positive community initiative teaching the young people of the community positive lessons. The sponsors did not view the Fair Play program as simply a 'hockey' program.
Who benefits from the Fair Play program? Everyone associated with the program benefits. In particular, a positive environment is created in which the youth of the Dartmouth community can participate in a minor hockey program.
What were the positives of the program after the first year?
increased, positive team unity
more appropriate spectator behaviour in the stands
many teams outside the Whaler boundaries requested games with Whaler teams because of the Fair Play program
there was a positive reflection on the Whalers Association and the City of Dartmouth when Whaler teams travelled outside Dartmouth to various tournaments
more controlled discipline resulted in the coaches, parents, and players thus, making the game much more fun for all participants involved
participants began to take more responsibility for their actions in the rink and during games
dressing rooms were left cleaner by participating Whaler teams
on-ice officials noticed and commented upon the positive changes they perceived in the games during the season
an increase in corporate sponsorship for the Whalers resulted with the introduction of the Fair Play program
many parents became promoters of a more positive attitude
more ice times for marginal players resulted during games
a positive difference was noted by participants during the season at games and this made the season more enjoyable for many
many new parents to minor hockey supported and encouraged the Fair Play program
Where can people get more information about Fair Play? Contact any member of the Whaler Executive.
Is this program only going to run for one season? No - Fair Play would be a part of the DWMHA for years to come.