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CliffsNotes on SafeSport for Coaches


It's critical for coaches set expectations for their team and lead by example.

Coaches play a key role in player safety on and off the ice. In fact, they are considered the primary responsible party for the team in the hockey environment – whether they are present or not when an incident occurs. This means the locker room, the hotel, etc. Not just on the ice.

It's critical for coaches set expectations for their team and lead by example. Here are a few ways coaches can help create a safe environment for their team with the help of USA Hockey’s SafeSport policy.

Locker Room Policy:

  • Your organization is required to have one. It can be more stringent, but not less stringent, than the USA Hockey locker room policy which can be found at www.usahockey.com/safesport. You can also develop a team policy (same conditions apply).

  • While the head coach does not have to be the locker room monitor, the head coach is ultimately responsible to ensure that the locker room is properly monitored.

  • If you are going to have parents help serve as locker room monitors, choose them early - and choose wisely. Then, support them – they need it.

  • Hold a team meeting so that everyone - players, parents, coaches, team managers, and locker room monitors – all have the same understanding and expectation of the locker room monitor(s) role.

  • Locker room monitors must either be inside the locker room or if directly outside the locker room, monitors must be in the immediate vicinity (near the door within arm’s length and so that the monitor can sufficiently hear inside the locker room) regularly and frequently entering the locker room to monitor activity inside.

  • Enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding inappropriate behavior in the locker room.

Electronic Devices:

  • No devices can be used to record sound, images or video in the locker room.

  • No devices should be used to show video or images in the locker room unless a coach is using it for play review, etc.

  • Best practice? No phones in the locker room.

Staying Connected:

  • If a coach communicates via email or text with any player, the parents/guardians must be included in the correspondence.

  • Communication via social media accounts between a coach and player is prohibited. If a coach utilizes social media pages as a team communication tool, it must be accessible to all participants, parents and guardians.

  • All correspondence between a coach and player (and parent/guardian) must be non-personal in nature.

Travel Policy:

  • Your organization is required to have one. It can be more stringent, but not less stringent, than the USA Hockey travel policy. You can also develop a team policy (same conditions apply).

  • Coaches and/or volunteers should not drive alone with an unrelated minor and should only drive with at least two other players or another adult at all times, unless otherwise agreed to in writing by the minor’s parent.

  • Teams should try to avoid sponsoring, coordinating, or arranging for local travel, and the parents of a minor player should be responsible for making all local travel arrangements. If the team must coordinate travel, efforts should be made to pick up or drop off the players in groups.

Bullying and Hazing:

  • Bullying and hazing are NOT TOLERATED.

  • Talk to your players about bullying and hazing. The USA Hockey SafeSport Handbook has comprehensive education regarding bullying, hazing and related behaviors.

  • Enforce a zero tolerance policy regarding bullying, hazing and any similar behaviors.

SafeSport – When / How / Who to Report:

  • Meet your organization’s SafeSport Liaison and keep their contact information with you. This person is your link to the affiliate SafeSport Coordinator, USA Hockey, and can also guide you when law enforcement and/or the U.S. Center for SafeSport need to be notified.

  • Physical abuse: Law enforcement should be called, and your SafeSport Liaison should be notified.

  • Sexual abuse or misconduct: Law enforcement must be notified. The U.S. Center for SafeSport and the national office must be notified.

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