COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - USA Hockey's Board of Directors unanimously endorsed moving forward the USA Hockey SafeSport Program as its Annual Congress last week in Colorado Springs.
The comprehensive program is focused on creating an environment that will deter abusers and assist those in the hockey community in recognizing, reducing and responding to allegations or suspected abuse.
"We've long been a leader in providing a safe environment for all involved in the game," said Ron DeGregorio, president of USA Hockey. "As an example, we first began screening adults involved with children in the 1990s . The USA Hockey SafeSport program packages our long-standing policies with some updates and includes the excellent video training our partners at the USOC have produced."
Highlighting USA Hockey's SafeSport Program are more defined standards for the required background screening of coaches and other volunteers having access to youth participants and guidelines for USA Hockey programs in reporting and responding to abuse and/or suspected abuse.
OTHER PERTINENT INFORMATION FROM USA HOCKEY'S ANNUAL CONGRESS
USA Hockey's Board of Directors also voted to:
1. Change the legislation cycle so that the playing rules can be modified once every four years, instead of every two years. Playing rules changes will be considered in 2013 and then every four years.
2. Set the standard of the playing surface for games and scrimmages at the 8U age level as either cross-ice or half-ice, or on a surface that is equal to or less than the dimensions of cross-ice or half-ice, beginning with the 2013-14 playing season, with a provision that allows affiliates an opportunity to apply for an exception for a limited number of full ice games or scrimmages.
USA Hockey's coaching education program also reported that revisions to the online coaching education modules and classroom curriculum will be in place for the beginning of the 2012-13 season to address many of the concerns of those in the field. In addition, a new coaching app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices is expected to be ready for the start of the 2012-13 season and will be available to USA Hockey registered coaches for free.
"We continue to be diligent in providing the best possible materials and delivery mechanisms to our coaches," said Mike MacMillan, USA Hockey's coach-in-chief. "Coaches are the lifeblood of our sport and it's exciting to see the continued progress we're making. A lot of people deserve credit for the terrific things that are happening."
USA Hockey's officiating education program is expected to have a national online system in place for the start of the 2012-13 season that will provide a mechanism to report and track the most serious infractions in games.
"There are some one million USA Hockey-sanctioned games each year and to be able to have a nationwide database and reporting system of egregious fouls is a significant step forward," said Dave LaBuda, USA Hockey's referee-in-chief.
" USA Hockey's final registration report for the 2011-12 season showed an overall increase of 2.01%, including a record 107,387 participants at the 8-and-under age level. "In a tough economy, our sport continues to grow," said Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey. "Our Board continues to push the envelope with its appetite for more education and training programs to help hockey and through our membership registration fee, support from others like the NHL and USOC, we've been able to deliver programming as good as any amateur sports organization in the world."
" USA Hockey has launched an online Parents' Community at USAHockeyParents.com to specifically assist parents of four-to-eight year-old players in the sport. "We've started by focusing on the parents of our youngest players and will expand this over time to be more far-reaching," said Pat Kelleher, assistant executive director of membership development for USA Hockey.
" While in place since 2009, language was adopted that recognizes the American Development Model as USA Hockey's model hockey program. The ADM provides specific guidelines for all age groups and levels.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS ELECTIONS
Three USA Hockey officers were unanimously re-elected to new three-year terms, including President Ron DeGregorio; Vice President/Adult Council Chair John Beadle; and Vice President/Youth Council ChairDave Klasnick.
In addition, Donna Kaufman was elected to a three-year term to serve as director representative to the executive committee, while Shelley Looney was elected as the athlete representative to the executive committee.
Further, Phil Verchota and Sarah Fraser were elected to three-year terms as director at-large and Joan Mariconda was elected to a one-year term as director at-large, filling the seat left by John Vanbiesbrouck,who is now a vice president of USA Hockey and chair of the organization's Junior Council.
Six athlete directors were also elected to three-year terms, with Ted Drury, Jamie Hagerman, and A.J. Mleczko being re-elected and Julie Chu, Bill Guerin and Dan LaCouture earning a spot on the Board for the first time. Hagerman was re-elected as USA Hockey's representative to the United States Olympic Committee's Athletes Advisory Council.
USA Hockey President Ron DeGregorio bestowed President's Award on six individuals, including Dave Klasnick, Mike MacMillan, Jim Smith, Kevin McLaughlin, Mark Tabrum and Bob Weldon.
The Board unanimously honored Dick Coombs, Jerry Edwards, and Jack McCatherin with director emeritus status.