Toronto (January 29, 2010) – The GTHL Board of Directors and its Rules Committee are committed to ensuring that our 38,000 hockey players enjoy a safe and sportsmanlike environment. Since the fall of 2009 we have been examining several areas of the game of hockey related to inappropriate behaviour and actions.
As a result of this, last evening at its Board of Directors meeting, the GTHL approved the launch, effective for the 2010-11 season, four additional initiatives in order to continue to work towards a more respectful, and thus safer, hockey environment:
1. TEAM OFFICIAL EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM
Dr. Paul Dennis, one of Canada’s most-respected Sports Psychologists, and a former GTHL coach and parent, has been appointed Special Advisor to the GTHL Board of Directors with responsibility for developing and implementing a Team Official Educational Program. This program will become mandatory for Team Officials who develop a history of inappropriate conduct or whose teams display inappropriate and/or unsportsmanlike conduct. The program will focus on the type of behavior and role modeling that is expected by the GTHL and the Minor Hockey community.
2. INCREASED PENALTIES FOR DANGEROUS PLAY
Although most of the GTHL’s current minimum suspensions are already stronger than those adopted by Hockey Canada, the GTHL will be further increasing minimum suspensions for infractions such as Checking to the Head, Checking from Behind, Fighting, Removing an Opponent’s Helmet, Instigator and Aggressor.
3. ESCALATING SUSPENSIONS
The GTHL will be implementing a series of escalating suspensions. This will see players who are penalized for infractions such as Checking to the Head, Checking From Behind, Fighting and other infractions related to aggressive play receive escalating suspensions for each time the player is penalized for one of these infractions.
4. INDEFINITE SUSPENSION FOR USE OF DISCRIMINATORY TAUNTS, INSULTS, ETC.
The GTHL will be implementing an automatic indefinite suspension for any participant who is penalized for engaging in verbal taunts, insults or intimidation based on discriminatory grounds (race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, language). Players penalized under this rule will be suspended indefinitely until they appear before a GTHL Special Committee, which will determine a specific suspension appropriate to the incident. “The GTHL has demonstrated leadership in the past by implementing ground-breaking policies dealing with concussions and developing the first ever Aggressive Play Policy in Canada” said GTHL Executive Director Scott Oakman. President John Gardner added “The GTHL is proud to continue its leadership role in Minor Hockey in Canada. We will continue to monitor the success of these programs and, if other measures are necessary to improve sportsmanship and safety for our participants, they will be taken”.